Golden Beet and Carrot Latkes (Potato-less, Gluten-free)
I, for one, am having a bit of a second latke honeymoon this year, owing to some early successes in latke-making that have transformed my attitude toward making this holiday staple from one of unenthusiastic resignation (“grrr… I have to grate potatoes and deal with the thick smell of fried potatoes lingering in upholstery a week?!”) to one of inspired enthusiasm (“oooh… what other vegetables can I introduce to my kids under the veil of fried pancakedom?”)
My first annual batch of traditional potato latkes was a real hit. Appropriately golden, fast to make, enthusiastically received. In retrospect, I chalk up the success to two factors. First of all, I kept the batch size SMALL, which made it much easier to squeeze every last drop of liquid from the batter. Wet batter is the enemy of a crispy latke, and large, scaled-up recipes can set you up for problems as the potatoes sit around, sweating, waiting to be fried. One single large potato + one small grated onion, squeezed aggressively through a fine-meshed colander (a cone-shaped one, otherwise known as a chinois, worked really well for me) produced a dry-as-bone mixture that yielded enough batter to feed latkes to my family of 2 adults and 2 toddlers. (Other ingredients were 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend, one egg, salt and pepper.)
Secondly, I found a great gluten-free flour blend that performed well in my batter. The flour I used this year to bind my latke batter was made using Carol Fenester’s recipe for Sorghum flour blend. (Click here for the recipe.) You can make a large batch of this flour blend and keep it refrigerated in a ziploc for future use in various applications; I’ve had great results using it as a sub-in for regular flour in regular breakfast pancake recipes.
Once I mastered a great potato latke, I figured it was time to branch out into other vegetables before the week was done.
I considered the usual carrot-zucchini-potato version, but felt I could do even better. A bit more searching yielded a blog post for these absolutely GORGEOUS beet and carrot latkes (potato-free!) devised by Amy over at the Eggs on Sunday blog. Alas, I knew that red beets + white sofa + two toddlers was a terribly flawed idea in my case. (I’m still trying to get a streak of blue crayon out of the slipcovers…) But swapping in golden beets for the red beets would probably be safe decor-wise, and would yield an equally nutritious (albeit less colorful) version of the original recipe. As predicted, the end result looked almost identical to a potato latke, but tasted a bit sweeter. I also used Carol F’s sorghum flour blend as my binder to keep these gluten-free. As if it needed to be said, I topped mine off with an amazingly thick dollop of Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Sour Cream*; the sour cream made the absolute perfect foil to the sweetness of the latke. (Incidentally, if you run out of eggs while latke-making, you can also try GVO sour cream as a batter binder as I did earlier in the week. It’s so incredibly thick that it totally did the trick!)
The trick with beet and carrot latkes, I think, is moisture control. Beets are quite watery, and can really make for a soupy, wet batter if not adequately put through the ringer. My approach with this recipe was to squeeze the bejesus out of each separate grated vegetable component before combining them altogether.
Recipe: Gluten-free Golden Beet & Carrot Latkes
Adapted everso slightly from Amy at Eggs on Sunday
1 medium golden beet (about 8-10oz), peeled and coarsely grated
2 medium carrots, (about 6 oz), peeled and coarsely grated
1 small onion (about 4oz), coarsely grated
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup + 1 TBSP gluten-free all purpose flour
Canola or grapeseed oil for frying
coarse salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt for serving (for lactose-free, use Green Valley Organics Sour Cream*)
- Using cheesecloth or a fine mesh colander/chinois, squeeze as much excess liquid out of the carrots as humanly possible. Add to mixing bowl. Repeat this step for beets, and onion, respectively.
- Once all grated vegetables combined in a bowl, add the beaten eggs, stir to combine, then stir in the flour and salt and pepper to taste.
- Enough oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, scoop small amount of batter (~1 rounded TBSP) into pan and quickly flatten with a fork. Repeat until pan is full, working quickly to prevent batter from sitting around longer than necessary. (Liquid will separate from veggies as batter sits).
- Cook the latkes until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes per side. Remove the latkes to a paper-towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil.
- Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200-degree oven for up to 1 hr before serving.
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