My absolute favorite Jewish holiday food is a potato latke sprinkled with a little sugar (well, maybe it's tied with homemade chicken soup and knaidel!). But I'm now on a low-carbohydrate diet, so I had to find an alternative to the classic Potato Latkes and the Sweet Potato Latkes that are in our Recipe File. I happen to really like cauliflower, and I'd seen recipes for cauliflower latkes, so I thought I'd give them a try. I was pleasantly surprised at not only the great taste of the latkes, but at how similar they look to the real thing. (My husband said it didn't even smell like cauliflower in the house!) They are more fragile, however, so take care when cooking, turning, and storing. Cauliflower is actually mild in taste, so the onion, salt and pepper are crucial to the flavor. Garlic is optional – I added some to the mixture when I was halfway through cooking my test batch and found it added a little extra flavor that I enjoyed. These are very low in carbohydrates and are much healthier than potato latkes. You can eat these year-round without guilt!
1 head fresh cauliflower, approximately 2 pounds, or
1 1/2 pounds fresh cauliflower flowerets (about 6 cups)
1/2 medium onion, peeled and cut in 4 chunks
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 grinds of fresh black pepper, or to taste
1 garlic clove, minced, or 1/2-3/4 teaspoon minced garlic from a jar (optional)
Vegetable oil for frying
If using a whole head of cauliflower, remove the outer leaves and stem and cut off the flowerets. Cut these into roughly uniform pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl with approximately 1/4 cup water. Cover and microwave approximately 6 minutes. The cauliflower should still be firm, but slightly less resistant to a fork. Drain the water out and place the cauliflower on a dish towel and pat dry.
Fill a large heavy skillet with vegetable oil to about 1/4-inch deep. Heat on medium-high until water drops sizzle. Place a wire rack on a cookie sheet.
While the oil is heating, process the onion in a food processor. Add half the cauliflower and process until finely chopped but not smooth. The onion and cauliflower should look to be the same consistency. Remove to a medium mixing bowl. Process the remaining cauliflower and place in the bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
Using a serving spoon, scoop the mixture and use your fingers to pat it together to form a rough, flattened ball. Carefully place in the hot oil and gently press down with a fork to form circles of approximately uniform thickness. Fry for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. (The edges will brown a bit first, but not so much as with regular potato latkes, so you'll have to check the undersides.)
Transfer the latkes carefully to the wire rack to let excess oil drip off. If you are serving these immediately, the pan with the rack can be placed in a preheated 200-degree oven to keep the latkes warm; otherwise, let the latkes cool on the counter, place on paper towels to absorb even more of the oil, and then refrigerate until later. Reheat at a high temperature (preferably in a convection oven at 450 degrees) for a few minutes until hot and crispy. They should be eaten plain, or with a sprinkling of salt if desired.
Yield: 24 latkes
Jamie Stolper is the Food Editor of ShalomBoston.com.
Cauliflower Latkes (Low Carb!)