Potatoes are, of course, the main ingredient in latkes, a traditional Hanukkah food. However, Avril Kaye Caterers (160 Summerfield St, Scarsdale 914-472-7712) uses parsnips and celery root to add an earthy, vegetal depth. Here is Kaye’s recipe.
Parsnip and Celery Root Latkes (Makes 30 latkes)
1 ½ lbs parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 ½ lbs celery root, peeled and cubed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of celery seed
panko crumbs, medium grind
Preheat oven to 300° F.
Separately boil parsnips and celery root, each with 2 cloves of garlic and some salt. Drain well when tender. Place on parchment paper on sheet pan to dry off in oven. After 10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.
Place vegetables in KitchenAid mixer with paddle attachment and mash to a slightly coarse texture. Add eggs and seasonings and mix.
Shape latkes into pancakes ½-inch thick and 2 ½ inches indiameter. Spread panko on a pan and coat latkes. Fill a sauté pan ½-inch deep with oil and fry latkes gently, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Change oil if crumbs turn black. Serve with a pear-and-port compote.