Potato latkes — crisp, pancake-like fritters made from the starchy root vegetable — are de rigueur at American Hanukkah celebrations. In recent years, home cooks have gotten creative with their latkes, swapping in other vegetables and fruits like grated sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, beets, and apples, and enhancing the batter with mix-ins ranging from curry powder to minced jalapeño peppers.
This fresh take on traditional potato latkes dresses up the fritters with thinly sliced scallions and a fragrant mix of fresh dill, parsley, and basil. Like all latkes worth their salt, they are crunchy on the outside and tender within. Just be sure to use a neutral-tasting vegetable oil with a high smoke point (like safflower or sunflower) and get the oil hot before dropping in the batter.
While cooking the latkes, nudge the flame up and down as needed to make sure they are browning well, but not burning on the outside before the inside has a chance to set. These herb-flecked latkes taste wonderful with the traditional toppings (sour cream and applesauce), but they really sing when paired with a dollop of cool Middle Eastern labneh swirled with fiery harissa paste.
Herb and Scallion Latkes
Serves 4 to 6
medium Russet potatoes (about 2 pounds total), scrubbed and unpeeled
small onion, peeled
medium scallions, thinly sliced
finely chopped fresh dill
finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons
freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with several layers of paper towel; set aside.
Grate the potatoes and onion on the large holes of a box grater. Or, cut them into quarters and shred them in a food processor fit with a shredding blade. Working in batches, wrap shredded potato and onion in a dishtowel or several layers of paper towel and squeeze as much water as you can out of them.
Transfer the shredded, squeezed potatoes and onion to a large bowl. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, eggs, flour, salt, and pepper and mix until fully combined.
Heat about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Working in batches of 3 to 4, drop batter by the 1/4 cup into the pan and press gently with a spatula to flatten. Cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes total.
Continue process until all batter is used up, adding additional oil to the pan if necessary and adjusting the heat if latkes are browning too quickly or not quickly enough. Serve hot.
Make ahead: Let the fried latkes cool completely, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until needed. To reheat, place frozen latkes in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet and warm in a 400°F oven until crisp and warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Reprinted with permission from Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah Koenig, copyright (c) 2017. Published by Chronicle Books.