Saturday, March 24, 2012
Vegetable Latkes (Pancakes, Patties, whatever you want to call them): A Template
Interestingly, many cultures around the world have a tradition of finely chopping or mushing up food and then throwing it into a bit of hot oil to cook. These can be bean based, meat based, vegetable based or grain based: falafals, salmon patties, latkes, pancakes. I admit that I like them all. Because of this I'd like to offer more of a template than a recipe. And you know, it occurs to me that this might be the perfect sort of thing for Leftover Tuesday. At any rate, it's the perfect sort of thing if you've got some leftover vegetables, meats, beans that you don't know what to do with.
Vegetable Latkes: A Template
Makes about 8 patties
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
(potatoes: .50, other vegetables: .50-1.00, egg: .10, flour: .05)
1 lb potatoes
1 lb other vegetables (zucchini, squash, carrots, eggplant, sweet potato--just about any firm-ish vegetable will do)
1/2 C flour (again you can use whatever type floats your boat. I used all-purpose, but you could use matzo or corn or other types as well)
a splash of lemon juice
salt and pepper (of course other seasonings can go nicely too. I'm thinking about dill and parsley right now, but--again--the sky's the limit)
Grate the vegetables. (I used a food processor.) Let them sit for a few minutes and then press or squeeze excess water out of them. Doing so makes for a crispier, tastier end product. To squeeze, you can press them into a colander or wrap them in a dish towel and ring them out to get the water out.
Once they've been squeezed, add the egg, flour, lemon, and seasonings and mix together.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a heavy duty (I used cast iron) skillet until the oil shimmers. Drop spoonfuls of veggie mixture into the pan and press down with your spoon. You want it to be fairly flat so that it cooks evenly and the vegetables in the middle of your patty don't come out underdone. Allow to cook for several minutes until the underside is deep golden and then flip and repeat. If the underside is cooking too quickly, turn down the heat. You don't want the middle all raw, unless raw potatoes are your thing. They're not mine.
You can serve however you wish. I like them with a plain yogurt or sour cream based dip. Last night I used sour cream and added a bit of lemon juice and dill. I've heard lime and curry is good too. Kip likes them with ketchup (wow, what a surprise) and I bet if I'd pulled out the Ranch he wouldn't have complained about that either. My point is that they're pretty darn good dipped in a variety of things so go ahead, be creative, and follow your gut.