Golden Parsnip Latkes

One night for dinner last week I made golden parsnip latkes with a dill-flavored beet and cabbage soup—both recipes from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now, one of my favorite cookbooks in recent years. More on the soup later. I think this was my first time making latkes. Though more commonly made with potatoes, I was intrigued by the parsnip version. Other than the parsnips, I had everything I needed already on hand: onion, flour, eggs, kosher salt, baking powder, pepper and olive oil. I suppose that was part of the appeal of the recipe.

Thankfully it was quick and easy to grate the parsnips and onions with my food processor. As the recipe warned, cooking latkes tends to make your kitchen a little smoky—it’s a good idea to put the fan on high and avoid wearing your best clothes. Other that that, it’s a fast and simple process to whip up a batch of latkes. As I worked, I stored the finished latkes in between two plates to keep them hot. I served them with sour cream (though I’m sure they’d be equally wonderful with applesauce), and they also made great leftovers. Because the latkes are fried in olive oil, they’re quite heavy, so it doesn’t take more than a few fill up. But they’re so tasty, I found it difficult to stop eating them.

Golden Parsnip Latkes (from Cook This Now; makes about 18 latkes)

1 pound parsnips (about 3 medium), peeled and cut in half crosswise
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chicken fat, duck fat, or olive oil, for frying

1. Using food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate the parsnips and onion. Transfer the mixture to a clean dish towel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible.

2. Working quickly, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the flour, eggs, salt, baking powder, and pepper and mix until the flour is absorbed.

3. In a medium heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of oil. Once the oil is hot (a drop of batter placed in the pan should sizzle), use a heaping tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot pan, cooking 3 to 4 latkes at one time. Use a spatula to flatten and shape the drop into discs. When the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes, flip. Cook until the second side is deeply browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter.

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