Of the many ways to commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah--in which a small vial of oil lasted 8 days in the Holy Temple--my favorite is to prepare treats fried in oil. Latkes (Yiddish for pancakes) come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, a big difference from my childhood, when potatoes seemed to be the only ingredient of choice. Potatoes still reign supreme, but there are eight days of Hanukkah--ample time to try this recipe, which embraces the spirit of the holiday and adds a modern twist.
Makes 18-20 pancakes
I prefer not to use flour in these latkes, but if you like your pancakes to hold together more firmly, add 2 tablespoons of flour to the batter
2 large parsnips (about 12 oz), peeled
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 12 oz), peeled
2-3 shallots, thinly sliced (about 2/3 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 1 /2 teaspoons chopped thyme
3/4 cup canola oil for frying
Accompaniments: Sour Cream or Crème Fraiche
Using a food processor or box grater, grate parsnips and sweet potatoes. In a large mixing bowl, combine parsnips, sweet potatoes, shallots, salt, egg whites, and thyme.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, spoon 1/4 cup batter at a time on to the skillet and press down with a fork to flatten. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side, until crisp and browned. Drain on paper towels and keep warm for up to one hour in a 200°F oven.
Serve with sour cream or crème fraiche.