Hanukkah foods with Melissa Clark

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sundown on Sunday marked the beginning of Hanukkah, a holiday ripe with culture, heritage, family, and, of course, food. Joining us to explain where to get the best tasting gelt and the intricate grease-to-potato ratio in the perfect latke is New York Times food writer Melissa Clark.
"As long as you're using oil, you're commemorating this holiday."
— Melissa Clark on holiday cooking


Melissa Clark


Melissa Locker

Comments [2]


Your correspondent left out one crucial step in her instructions for making light and delicious latkes. When you put the grated potatoes into a strainer, you should put the strainer over a bowl. Squeeze the liquid out using your hands and let the liquid drain into the bowl. Put the grated potatoes along with grated and drained onions in another bowl. The potato starch will settle at the bottom of the liquid. Carefully pour the liquid off and scrape the potato starch into the bowl with grated potatoes, etc. Packaged potato starch is NOT the same. Onions are crucial; without them the latkes are pretty bland. I use about 1 medium onion for every 3-4 medium potatoes. Scallions or leeks can be used; adds a nice touch of green.

Dec. 22 2008 08:44 AM

I've never heard (or read anywhere)anything prescribing deep-fat frying for Hanukkah--except latkes, of course. Please cite your source(s) for that idea. Far from fried chicken or fried anything, one usually has pot roast (first-cut brisket!) along with applesauce for the latkes (and sour cream, if it's a dairy meal).
And I've never had any problem making latkes, following the identical recipes in almost every Jewish cookbook I've ever seen. I agree with using the coarse grater on the food processor and squeezing out the fluid, but there really should be a finely grated onion as well. Matzo meal is the preferred thickener--not flour. Idaho potatoes are best. And if you drain them on paper towels or brown-paper bags they won't get soggy.

Dec. 22 2008 08:13 AM

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