I love latkes. Fried crisps of potato and onion, eaten with sour cream and applesauce. What's not to love?
Oh yeah, it's about as healthy as eating a half cup of oil and grease-soaked high-glycemic empty calories. So I did some experimenting.
Latkes are traditionally fried in oil, a tangible reminder of the tiny bit of olive oil that burned for eight nights in the rededicated Temple after the Maccabees had kicked out the Syrians. Hey I thought, since we're remembering a tiny bit of oil, why is it necessary to use amounts that make a nutritionist cringe? Why not a very small amount, used to lightly coat the latkes. I decided to use a silpat-lined baking sheet so the latkes could be baked, much easier than standing over the hot stove. I also thought that mushrooms would work very well with the potatoes to further lighten the mixture. The mushroom ones are in the above photo. I began with my basic latke mix, which goes something like this:
5 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 small onions, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup matzoh meal
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. salt
lots of ground pepper
Using the shredding blade of the food processor, shred the potatoes and onions a bit at a time, making sure to process them together so the onions will prevent the potatoes from discoloring. Place the shredded mixture in a colander, and let drain for 15 minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Mix the eggs, matzoh meal, salt and pepper, and potatoes in a bowl.
If you were making traditional fried latkes, you'd hear about 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a skillet until it shimmers, and then drop in large spoonfuls of latke mixture, pressing down with the spoon to flatten into pakcakes. Turn only when browned and crisp, and cook the other side.
For my baked ones, I sprayed a silpat-lined baking sheet with Pam. I plopped on my latke mixture, and pressed them into pancakes. I sprayed the tops with oil as well to help with browning. I put them into a 450 oven, and turned them when browned on the bottom side, after about 15 minutes. That side crisped up nicely, but with a smoother sirface than fried latkes. The other side didn't crisp quite as much, which was OK. They tasted great, and were amazingly lighter that the fried ones.
For the mushroom version--and these I'll definitly make again, since they were so tasty:
Dice 2 cups mushrooms. Saute in Pam until very br0wned. Mix with 2 cups latke mixture, and bake as above. I think a little dill would be great in these, too. I made my second batch little ones and froze them to serve as appetizers at a party next month.