Parsnip and potato latkes with jam make the hol­i­days easy

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD -

As the hol­i­days creep up around us, freshly pre­pared food be­comes less of a rule and more of a fan­tasy.

Thought­ful, time-con­sum­ing din­ners are the first thing to go when time is at a premium, and we find our­selves lean­ing on take­out and con­ve­nience foods. And that’s just lead­ing up to the hol­i­days, when we’re dodg­ing cock­tail par­ties and recitals. What about those din­ners we’re host­ing?

The best thing you can do for your­self is to start planning your hol­i­day menu early, mak­ing sure it in­cludes plenty of make-ahead items. Have a week of din­ners to use up ev­ery­thing in your freezer, then start load­ing it up with soups, stocks, ap­pe­tiz­ers, pies. When the time comes, you can pull things out to de­frost, and then you’re just do­ing a lot of re­heat­ing and a lit­tle bit of day-of as­sem­bly.

By now, you’re prob­a­bly men­tally go­ing down your list try­ing to de­cide what you can start knock­ing out. But you might not have all the in­for­ma­tion you need, so be­fore you make any de­ci­sions check out this recipe for Parsnip-Potato Latkes served with rhubarb jam.

A per­fect twist on the Hanukkah favourites, these latkes will be a hit on your din­ner ta­ble or as a small bite at a cock­tail party (make them mini). Though we don’t usu­ally think of fried foods as a good makea­head item, they re­heat re­ally well. Cook the latkes all the way, then freeze in one layer on a bak­ing sheet. Once they’re frozen, you can trans­fer them to a zip-top bag. On the day of, bake the latkes from frozen in a hot oven, about 400 F, un­til they’re nice and crispy again.

Though we love the tra­di­tional com­bi­na­tion of potato pan­cake and ap­ple­sauce, we ex­per­i­mented with some new flavours, and this one stood out. As Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica chef Bruce Mat­tel says, “The parsnips add a touch of sweet­ness and com­plex­ity that sets these apart from the typ­i­cal latke.”

If you don’t use parsnips much, this is a great place to start. You can use them just like a car­rot, but they have a unique pep­pery flavour that stands out against the potato.

We’re crazy about the pair­ing with tart rhubarb, cooked with sugar, or­ange juice, and rose­mary un­til it is thick and jammy. We took a few pieces out for gar­nish be­fore it got too soft, but you can skip that step to keep it sim­ple. You can freeze the cooked rhubarb in a small con­tainer or zip-top bag, and then just de­frost it in the re­frig­er­a­tor the day be­fore you use it. Then re­heat it if you’d like, or serve it at room tem­per­a­ture.

Fall and win­ter aren’t rhubarb sea­sons, but you may be able to find some at your lo­cal gro­cery store. If not, you can use frozen, or sub­sti­tute pear, quince, or cran­ber­ries.

We like the latkes topped with sour cream and a lit­tle bit of caviar, too.

Parsnip-Potato Latkes MAKES 6 SERV­INGS

1 pound parsnips, peeled and finely grated 1 pound Yukon Gold pota­toes, peeled and finely grated 1 medium yel­low onion, finely grated 1½ tea­spoons kosher salt 2 cloves gar­lic, finely grated 1 tsp ground black pep­per 6 ta­ble­spoons tapi­oca starch Veg­etable oil, as needed for fry­ing Rhubarb Jam (recipe fol­lows) Sour cream, as needed for serv­ing Caviar, as needed, for serv­ing

Start to fin­ish: 35 min­utes; ac­tive time: 30 min­utes.

In a medium bowl, com­bine the parsnips, pota­toes, onion, and salt. Let rest for about five min­utes. Squeeze the mix­ture by the hand­ful over the sink (or in a fine-mesh sieve) to re­move any ex­cess liq­uid. Add the gar­lic, pep­per and tapi­oca starch and stir to coat.

Form the parsnip mix­ture into thin pat­ties, about ¼ cup per latke, squeez­ing out any ad­di­tional mois­ture as you go. Trans­fer to a parch­ment-lined bak­ing sheet as done.

Heat about ¼ inch of veg­etable oil in a large skil­let over medium heat. Trans­fer the latkes to the pan, work­ing in batches as needed, and fry un­til golden brown on both sides, about three min­utes per side. Trans­fer to a towel-lined tray or rack set over a bak­ing sheet to drain be­fore serv­ing. Serve with rhubarb jam and sour cream, and caviar, if de­sired.


1 or­ange 2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 sprig rose­mary 1 cup sugar ½ cup wa­ter

Start to fin­ish: 45 min­utes; ac­tive time: 35 min­utes.

Use a veg­etable peeler to re­move three wide strips of zest from the or­ange, and then juice the or­ange. Trans­fer the zest and juice to a medium saucepan. Add the rhubarb, rose­mary, sugar and wa­ter and bring to a sim­mer over medium heat.

Sim­mer, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the rhubarb is soft, about 10 min­utes. If de­sired, re­move about half of the rhubarb to use as gar­nish and set aside. Con­tinue cook­ing the re­main­ing rhubarb, us­ing the back of a wooden spoon to mash the fruit un­til it is soft, thick and jammy, about 20 min­utes. Set aside to cool to room tem­per­a­ture be­fore serv­ing.

Per serv­ing of latke: 217 calo­ries (63 from fat); 7 grams fat (1 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mil­ligrams choles­terol; 332 mg sodium; 38 g car­bo­hy­drate; 5 g fi­bre; 5 g sugar; 3 g pro­tein.

Per serv­ing of jam: 169 calo­ries (3 from fat); 0 grams fat (0 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mil­ligrams choles­terol; 7 mg sodium; 42 g car­bo­hy­drate; 3 g fi­bre; 36 g sugar; 1 g pro­tein.


If you don’t use parsnips much, this is a great place to start. You can use them just like a car­rot, but they have a unique pep­pery flavour that stands out against the potato.

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