Celery Root Latkes with Smoked Salmon Crème Fraîche
This recipe may be our favourite variation on the classic potato latke! Celery root is an underrated root vegetable that we believe everyone should be using more often. The outside can seem gnarly and a little unsightly, but under that exterior, the vegetable tastes faintly of celery with a hint of grassiness. When you shred the celery root and fry it up, it makes an ultra crispy latke that we love topped with smoked salmon crème fraîche. Here’s to delicious new traditions that honour the spirit of the holiday!
Check out these latkes and our carrot-harissa latkes in our feature in the Montreal Gazette all about making latkes with non-traditional ingredients as a way to reinvent this traditional Hanukkah dish.
Smoked Salmon Crème Fraîche
250 g crème fraîche
60 g smoked salmon, finely chopped
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
2 ½ pounds of celery root, trimmed and peeled (about 1 large and 1 medium celery root)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup potato starch (you can also use all-purpose flour but potato starch will make the latkes crispier)
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend the crème fraîche, smoked salmon, lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Using a food processor fitted with the large-sized shredding disk, shred the celery root and onion. Working in batches, wrap the grated vegetables in a dish towel or several layers of paper towels and squeeze as much water as you can out of them. Add the eggs, potato starch, chives, parsley, salt and pepper and stir or mix with your hands until the ingredients are fully combined.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with two layers of paper towels, set aside.
In a large pan over medium heat, warm ¼ inch of vegetable oil until shimmering but not smoking. Using a ¼ -cup measuring cup, scoop up the celery root mixture, pack tightly, and carefully drop it into the pan, working in batches of 4-5. Using a spatula, gently press each mound into a flat disk about ½ inch thick. Fry undisturbed until the bottoms of the latkes are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and fry until the latkes are golden brown on both sides, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more.
Transfer the latkes to the prepared baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon, skim and discard any bits of latke remaining in the pan. Continue with the remaining batter, adding additional oil to the pan if necessary and adjusting the heat if the latkes are browning too quickly or not quickly enough.
Fry the remaining celery root mixture until all of the mixture has been used.
Serve hot, topped with the smoked salmon crème fraîche. Alternatively, let the latkes cool and store in the refrigerator or freezer. When ready to serve, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and reheat in a 400 degrees F oven.