It's not Hanukkah without latkes. Crispy and delicious, I've long resisted my mother's attempts at making them healthy. Recipes with sweet potatoes or yams might taste good to the sweet-tooth American palate, but they're not latkes.
I make mine with Yukon Gold potatoes, which are starchy, but more flavorful than Russets, shredded into fine strands that I then salt, drain of all their liquid, mix with a little egg, onion and flour and fry in olive oil until they're the color of honey. This year I'm going to top them with tangy creme fraiche andsavory homemade Goldrush applesauce, a slight tweak to a classic recipe by Suzanne Tracht of Jar.
Finding a wine to pair well with latkes is relatively simple--the key is choosing something with plenty of acidity to balance out all that delectable greasiness. Sauvignon Blanc would work, as would Pinot Blanc or Riesling, as would something with less overt fruit like a Muscadet or Jacquere. But personally, I think latkes paired with spicy Grüner Veltliner are as good as a warm fire and an hot toddy after a cold day in the snow. The 2009 Grüner by Etz (1L $11.99) from the Kamptal in Austria is one of my go-to wines when I'm watching my pennies, and who's wallet doesn't feel a little strained this time of year? Bone dry, with white pepper and ginger notes to support a frame that has sweet honeydew melon and tart Oro Blanco grapefruit flavors, this has plenty of zing to cut through the fat of the frying oil and the creme fraiche, and the fruit qualities will meld nicely with the applesauce.