Hanukkah is full of special memories, including my dad’s lifelong battle with overeating and turning to food for comfort.
Over the years, Jewish food has always had a special place in my heart, reminding me of those early years at the Chicago-area house of my father’s mother, Bubbe Mary. Only now have I found ways to remake some of her Old World recipes to be healthier — a blend of New and Old World traditions, a blend of my mother’s mother, Grandmother Beauty, and Bubbe Mary.
Traditional latkes are made with potatoes, matzah meal and egg, and are heavily fried. My much healthier version uses yellow squash, whole-wheat bread crumbs and olive oil for sautéing.
Sweet Squash Latkes
Serves 4 to 6
2 medium yellow squash, peeled, seeded and grated
11/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small onion, grated
1/3 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs or whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
21/2 to 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil or coconut oil for frying
In a medium bowl, toss grated squash with 1 tsp. salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze squash dry, discarding the liquid, then stir in eggs, onion, bread crumbs, baking powder, Parmesan cheese, and remaining salt and pepper and mix well. (Note: it is important to squeeze as much water as possible out of the squash. You can place the grated squash into a clean dish towel to remove excess liquid.)
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, drop heaping soupspoons of batter into the pan. You can use a spatula to flatten the latkes. Cook the latkes about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer carefully to a plate. Serve with plain yogurt or homemade applesauce.
Dawn Lerman is a nutritionist and author of “My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love and Family, With Recipes.” Follow her @dawnlerman