Happy Hanukkah, y’all! I thought to celebrate the holiday, it might be fun to share one of my all-time favorite recipes: baked latkes.
Dallas is a great city. It has a lot to offer. However, despite the decently-sized Jewish population here, knowledge about Judaism is not amongst the city’s greatest attributes. For most of my friends, I am the first Jewish kid they’ve ever met (or at least the first that they actually knew was Jewish). Since moving to Dallas, I have received a bunch of ornaments for my [nonexistent] Christmas tree (never had one of those), a bombardment of questions about Jewish culture and Judaism in general (ex: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?”), and even a few mispronounced/misused Yiddish and Hebrew words (my friend thought that schmuck was a compliment. In case you’re wondering, it isn’t).
So if you’re unfamiliar with Hanukkah, basically here is the gist of the story: a little vial of oil miraculously lasted for eight days when it should have only lasted for a few hours. Where I will fail you is the story behind the latke: I have literally no idea how pan-fried potato pancakes became the staple Hanukkah dish. Maybe it has something to do with the oil? Who knows.
When I was little, my mom always baked her latkes (cuts out some of the oil). My family always topped our latkes with lox (smoked salmon), sour cream, and sometimes even a lil’ bit of caviar, but a lot of my friends’ families top theirs with applesauce instead. So here is my [pretty stinkin’ easy] recipe for baked latkes:
- 2 bags of shredded potatoes OR about 2 pounds of potatoes, shredded
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- nonstick cooking spray (like Pam)
- optional: applesauce OR lox (smoked salmon), sour cream, caviar
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a baking sheet. If you want to make latke cups (easier to keep all of the toppings on them and perfect for serving as appetizers!), grease a cupcake pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded potatoes, diced onion, olive oil, egg, black pepper, and salt. Make about two-tablespoon-sized balls out of the mixture and place on the baking sheet or in the cupcake tins before flattening them out to look like a pancake. If using a cupcake tin, make sure that you don’t fill the tin up too high.
Spray the tops of the latkes with nonstick cooking spray before placing the sheet in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes. If you’re using the baking sheet (instead of the cupcake pan), flip the latkes when there’s about 10 minutes left so that they can be slightly browned on both sides. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing the baked latkes from the baking sheet or cupcake pan and adding the toppings. Enjoy!