I finished up the last of my CSA work hours at Drumlin over the weekend and, as much as I want to complain about it, it was actually pretty fun. When you get a group of people together to do pseudo-volunteer farm work, it doesn’t generally attract a lot of assholes. Nope, I was the only asshole there and I just kept my mouth shut the whole time.
We harvested carrots on Friday, and cabbage, leeks, and all manner of radishes on Saturday. Since I’m always happiest when I’m brandishing a knife, my job was to cut the greens off of the carrots and radishes and arrange them in storage crates. Also, to weed out any skinny, crappy ones that came my way. Not that there’s anything wrong with the skinny, crappy ones. It’s just that if you store them in the root cellar along with the big ones, they might rot and contaminate everything around them. I think. I always seem to be late for the farm work and so I only get half the story.
Anyway, nothing goes to waste on the farm. All of the reject stuff gets plowed right back under the soil. But, in terms of how hungry I was after all of that aerobic wrist-flicking, composting wasn’t going to cut it. After we finished, I skulked around for a little while and then made a break for it with armloads of little carrots and daikon radishes. Later, it turned out that the Farmer had said it was okay to take them, so I guess I sprinted that whole mile for nothing.
Ah, but it wasn’t for nothing. I grated up those little daikons with some potatoes and made the most delicious latkes this side of Hanukkah. I’ve never made latkes before, but judging by how these came out, I would make an awesome Jew.
Daikon Radish and Potato Latkes
1½ cups daikon radish, grated (there’s no shame in using the food processor)
1½ cups potatoes, peeled, grated (you heard me the first time)
2 Tbsp. shallots, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. scallions or leeks, finely chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. flour
Salt and pepper
Line a sieve with cheesecloth (or a dishtowel, if you’re me) and place over a large bowl. Transfer grated radish and potato to the cloth, twist up the sides to form a ball, and squeeze, wringing out as much liquid as possible. Let sit while you finish chopping, then wring out again.
Empty and dry large bowl. Add daikon, potatoes, shallots, and scallions/leeks. Stir in beaten eggs, flour, salt (don’t be stingy), and pepper until uniformly moist.
Heat ¼-inch of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Place a heaping spoonful of the daikon/potato mixture in the hot oil and flatten with the back of the spoon into 3-inch rounds. Cook no more than 3 or 4 at a time. Fry 3-4 minutes, until golden-brown, then flip and cook 3-4 minutes more. When in doubt, the magic number for this recipe seems to be 3. Adjust heat if they’re browning too fast. Add more oil as needed. Transfer to paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve right away. I’m not kidding, start eating them NOW.
Source: A friend from culinary school came up with this recipe. I don’t remember her name because that’s just the kind of fantastic friend I am. I think it was Lucy. No, Linda. Anyway, circa 2000 she was tall, mid-forties, dark hair, nearly cut off her finger with the meat slicer while I, helpfully, nearly passed out (God, those were good times). Anyone know who I’m talking about?