Of the many ways to commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah–in which a small vial of oil lasted 8 days in the Holy Temple–my favorite is to prepare treats fried in oil.
Latkes (Yiddish for pancakes) come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, a big difference from my childhood, when potatoes seemed to be the only ingredient of choice. Potatoes still reign supreme, but there are eight days of Hanukkah–ample time to try this recipe, which embraces the spirit of the holiday and adds a modern twist.
I prefer not to use flour in these latkes, but if you like your pancakes to hold together more firmly, add 2 tablespoons of flour to the batter.
2 large parsnips (about 12 oz), peeled
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 12 oz), peeled
2-3 shallots, thinly sliced (about 2/3 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme
3/4 cup canola oil for frying
Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche (optional garnish)
Using a food processor or box grater, grate parsnips and sweet potatoes. In a large mixing bowl, combine parsnips, sweet potatoes, shallots, salt, egg whites, and thyme.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, spoon 1/4 cup batter at a time on to the skillet and press down with a fork to flatten. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side, until crisp and browned. Drain on paper towels and keep warm for up to one hour in a 200F oven.
Serve with sour cream or creme fraiche.
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.