Allergen-free cooking has felt too frequently like one big compromise. Working without the magic of gluten or the sweet richness of butter means that “good enough” is often about as good as it gets.
This week, we had a first. Mr. Eos made his trademark potato latkes—the fried potato patties that are traditional at Chanukah—and he graciously made them allergen-free. The result was not simply “good enough,” not even merely “good.” The Eos family has decided, by a vote of three to zero, that allergen-free latkes are better than standard latkes.
There’s not much in latkes to begin with. Some potato, some onion. Throw in an egg or two, add a dash of matzoh meal. Salt, pepper, oil, fry, and there you go. We were all a little nervous about tinkering with so few ingredients.
But substituting flax seed for the egg and gluten-free flour for the matzoh meal produced latkes that were unusually light, delicate, and potato-y. Mr. Eos even let us talk him into making a second batch tonight, jut to be sure that the first go-round wasn’t a fluke.
Call it a Chanukah miracle. Call it anything you want. Just enjoy!
Mr. Eos’s Totally Awesome Allergen-Free Latkes
(Makes about 2 dozen)
½ medium onion
2 medium russet (“baking”) potatoes (about 1 pound)
1 Tbs. flax seed
3 Tbs. gluten-free flour (we used the King Arthur’s all-purpose blend)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil (safflower, canola, or something else that can take high heat)
- Combine the flax seed with 3 Tbs. warm water. Allow to thicken.
- In a food processor with regular (not grating) blade, process the onion. Then add the potatoes in chunks. Process until mushy, about the consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Let sit for a few minutes. Drain off the accumulated water, then squeeze out the remaining moisture with a dish towel or paper towel.
- In a bowl, combine the potato mixture, the flax seed gel, the flour, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Pour enough oil into a skillet or electric fry pan to generously cover the entire bottom of the pan. Heat the oil until it’s hot enough for frying. (Our electric skillet was set to about 380 degrees)
- Drop blobs of the potato batter into the oil and flatten with a spatula.
- When the latkes are browned around the edges, flip and cook on the second side until browned.
- Remove to a plate or baking sheet covered with paper towels for draining. The baking sheet can be put into a warm oven if you need to keep the latkes warm for a while.
- Serve with applesauce. (And sour cream, if you can eat dairy)
Bonus tips from Mr. Eos
- The oil has to be really hot for these babies to fry. But not so hot that everything burns to a crisp.
- Don’t make the latkes too big or too thick. You want them to cook through and get nice and crispy. Ours were no more than 2 or 3 inches in diameter. Forget the dumplings you sometimes see in the store.
- Be patient in cooking. Really wait until they are brown and crispy around the edges before flipping them. You’ll be glad you did.