Beet Latkes with Preserved Lemon and Yogurt Dressing

Einat Admony Recipe By and Janna Gur
 
  • Cooking and Prep: 1 h
  • Serves: 4
  • Contains:

I’m a beet freak, so when I wanted to give an upgrade to the traditional Ashkenazi potato pancake, beets were my solution. Unlike potatoes, beets don’t start turning black the moment you grate them, and they preserve their crispiness a bit longer, so it’s easier to pace their preparation and serving. These crunchy-chewy latkes have just the right hint of sweetness to offset the bright dressing.

 

Makes 10 to 12 latkes

Ingredients (25)

Latkes

Preserved Lemon and Yogurt Dressing

Quick Preserved Lemons

Start Cooking

Prepare the Latkes

  1. Grate the potato coarsely on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor using the grating blade. Wrap the grated potatoes in a clean kitchen towel (no fabric softener, please!) and squeeze vigorously to get rid of any excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl. Do the same with the onion. If you don’t care about staining your dish towel, do the same with the beets. Otherwise, grate the beets and squeeze out the moisture by hand; add to the bowl with the potatoes and onion.

  2. Add the egg, thyme, rosemary, flour, and several twists of pepper and mix thoroughly—your hands are good for this.

  3. Line a plate or tray with paper towels. Fill a large nonstick skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 inch (six millimiters) and heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, stir the salt into the latke mixture, pick up a small handful, and squeeze out even more liquid (depending on the potato and onion you use, you might have quite a lot of liquid). Shape the mixture into a round, flat patty about three inches (seven and 1/2 centimeters) in diameter and carefully add it to the hot oil. Repeat until you have a panful of patties, but with plenty of room between them to flip the latkes. Fry until the latkes are crunchy and slightly browned, about three minutes on each side. Transfer to the paper towels to drain. Repeat to form and fry the remaining potato mixture.

  4. Serve at once, with the preserved lemon and yogurt dressing or plain yogurt alongside.

Preserved Lemon and Yogurt Dressing

This vibrant yellow, citrusy dressing is a wonderful match to subtly sweet beet latkes, but that’s just the beginning. Serve it on roasted vegetables or panfried or grilled fish, or as a dipping sauce for any deep-fried snack (the acidity cuts right through the fat). It can keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, though it will probably be gone sooner.

 

Makes about 3 cups (720 milliliters)

  1. Rinse the preserved lemon wedges and remove the seeds.

  2. Combine the preserved lemon, jalapeño (if using), lemon juice, water, honey, turmeric, salt, and oil in a food processor and puree until you have a completely smooth mixture—this may take a couple of minutes, so be patient.

  3. Add the yogurt and pulse a few times, until the sauce is smooth and lemony yellow. If not using at once, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Variation:

Keep the sauce chunky: Instead of mixing everything in a food processor, finely dice the preserved lemon and jalapeño and fold together with the rest of the ingredients.

Prepare the Quick Preserved Lemons

Don’t have any preserved lemons at the ready? No problem. This speedy version yields a comparable flavor in a fraction of the time. Use them in any recipe that calls for preserved (Moroccan) lemons. They won’t keep as long, though—just a month in the fridge.

 

Makes about 2 cups (500 grams)

  1. Combine the lemons, salt, turmeric, sugar, and three cups (720 milliliters) water in a medium saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about one hour, until the lemons’ flesh has broken down and the rinds are very soft.

  2. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a clean, dry jar with a lid. Pour in just enough oil to cover the lemons. Seal the jar and store in the fridge for up to one month.

  3. Use a clean, dry spoon or fork (never your fingers) to remove the lemons from the jar as needed. Give them a quick rinse and remove any seeds before using.

Credits

Excerpted from Shuk by Einat Admony and Janna Gur (Artisan Books). Copyright ©️ 2019. Photographs by Quentin Bacon.

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