Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — South Florida congresswoman, chair of the Democratic National Committee, mother of three school-age children — is also, apparently, something of maven in the kitchen. Wasserman Schultz (aka @cleancookingcongresswoman) maintains an Instagram account devoted to her culinary adventures, and was tweeting over the weekend about, what else, latkes.
“Was flipping through old recipes and came across this — only 3 days to Hanukkah and more of these!” she tweeted, along with a photo of golden brown potato pancakes.
Getting latkes just right can present something of a challenge: forget to squeeze the water out of the potatoes and you’re likely to get a patty that’s heavier than it is crispy; fail to flip at precisely the right time, and the product may be more burnt than golden.
So we decided to ask Wasserman Schultz for her formula for the perfect latke. Explaining her decision to include grated sweet potato and parsnip, in addition to traditional baking potatoes, she told JTA via email:
My New Year’s resolution last year was to eat healthier without giving up my favorite “Jewish soul foods”! So, throughout the year, I set out to adapt our favorite traditional Jewish recipes to a “clean cooking,” healthier version. During Passover I made pizza with a matzo farfel crust and I didn’t want to give up latkes at Hanukkah, so I found this root vegetable recipe, which I adapted a bit for my family’s tastes.
But because latkes are a favorite in the Wasserman Schultz household, she’ll be serving up traditional ones in addition to the “lower guilt” option.
“Less guilt in a Jewish household, who knew it was possible!” the congresswoman told us.
It is possible — and here’s the recipe, which Wasserman Schultz adapted from MyRecipes.com.
Debbie’s (aka @CleanCookingCongresswoman’s) Healthy Root Vegetable Latke Recipe
2 cups grated peeled sweet potato
2 cups grated peeled baking potato
1 cup grated peeled parsnip
3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup grated onion
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped dill (optional)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Place first 3 ingredients on paper towels; squeeze until barely moist. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, eggs, and onion in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Add potato mixture; beat with a mixer at low speed until combined.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl. Heap 3 tablespoons potato mixture into pan to form a patty; flatten slightly. Repeat procedure 5 times to form 6 patties. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place latkes on a baking sheet; keep warm in oven. Repeat procedure twice with remaining oil and potato mixture to yield 18 latkes total. Sprinkle latkes with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Garnish with dill, if desired.