My friend Sheilah Kaufman asked me the other day if I had a Sephardic latke recipe for Hanukah. I replied that we loved potato latkes, but other than zucchini or sweet potato I wasn’t aware for any other different recipes. My mom, Nona Chiprut and the other Sephardic ladies I grew up with made Bumuelos or Loukoumades a doughnut type dish. Friday I had my big idea, Celery root fritters or latkes. I happened to have 2 large celery roots in the back of the refrigerator that I wanted to experiment with and add to mashed potatoes, but I shredded them instead and made latkes. A little drier than potatoes, I skipped the squeezing out the liquid step and they fried beautifully. Light, golden, and leaving a hint of celery in your mouth they were very tasty.
5 cups grated celery root or about 2 very large celery roots
1 teaspoon sea salt or to your taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons flour
Sunflower oil or other vegetable oil for frying
Wash and carefully peel celery roots until totally clean. Grate celery roots on large holes of a box grater in to a large bowl. Add salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour. Mix well with your hands. Heat a large frying pan to medium high and when it is hot add sunflower oil to a little less than 1/ 4 inch deep. Shape latkes loosley by hand and gently slide them into hot oil. When you can see the underside turning gold around the edges, flip latkes over with a spatula. When latkes are golden brown and crispy remove from oil and drain on paper towel lined plates in a single layer. Continue frying, do not crowd the pan. If you need more oil gently add in a bit from the side. Latkes should be thin and flat.
Serve celery latkes hot with apple sauce, cranberry sauce, or pomegranate reduction syrup.