Solving the Frying Issue:  As Easy As Latke Gratin

Solving the Frying Issue: As Easy As Latke Gratin

contributed by Melissa Roberts

In case you haven’t heard, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day this year. It’s a big deal because the holidays last converged in the 1880’s and it won’t happen again for thousands of years.  Reason to celebrate Thanksgivukkah, for sure!

For some, the idea of frying latkes while preparing a Thanksgiving feast isn’t an intimidating thought. For most of us mortals, however, the thought of standing and frying at the stove isn’t a welcome notion. (And for mortals like myself, frying but once a year is enough!) There is a solution to the frying “issue.”

Why not take latke’s ingredients and combine them in a single, well oiled dish, then drizzle the top generously with oil to crisp it from above and below?

The result is not only easy on the harried cook, but also resembles a latke in flavor with plenty of crunchy edges. And how, you may ask, is this different from a kugel? To which I respond, What is a latke, but miniature kugels with more crispy surface area.

 celery root potato latke gratin

Because the main ingredient in latkes are potatoes, they pair easily enough with turkey. Applesauce is traditional, but why not give in to the tart allure of cranberries which already have a place on the Thanksgiving table?  Instead of a straight up cranberry sauce, the recipe below is more chutney-like with apple cider vinegar, black pepper, and bay leaf.

Cranberries Simmering for Chutney

Latkes themselves are open to interpretation, mixing well with autumnal offerings such as celery root (see recipe below), yams, carrots, leeks, and squash.

Celeriac (celery root), Autumn's ugly duckling
Celeriac (celery root), Autumn’s ugly duckling

And since Hanukkah’s date this year is unique, why not experiment with a different ingredient and look for your latke?

Happy Thanksgivukkah!


Celery Root- Potato “Latke” Gratin
Serves 10
Celery Root- Potato

Recipe by Melissa Roberts

Recipe is Parve


  • 1 large (1 ½ lb) celery root, peeled with a knife
  • 1 ½ lbs russet potatoes (about 3)
  • 1 large onion (¾ – 1 lb)
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 to 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly snipped chives or chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. Special equipment: a shallow (2 to 2 ½ quart capacity)baking dish
  2. Preheat oven to 400F with rack in middle.
  3. Using the coarse shredder attachment for the food processor, grate celery root, potato, and onion, transferring them to a large bowl. (Alternately, you can grate by hand using the large holes of a box grater to coarsely grate celery root, potato, and onion.)
  4. Stir in flour, eggs (5 if using the food processor, 4 if grating by hand), salt, and pepper until combined well.
  5. Grease baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Transfer celery root mixture into dish, arranging it in a single layer. Drizzle remaining 3 tablespoons oil over the top.
  6. Bake until golden brown on top and baked through, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes, before serving. Sprinkle chives or parsley over top.


*Gratin is best eaten the day its made, but can be baked 1 day ahead. Cool completely then chill, covered with foil. Reheat, loosely covered with foil, in a 350F oven until warmed through, 20 to 30 minutes.


    • So glad you asked! Here’s what Melissa Roberts has to say : “Celery root, while ugly and knobbly on the outside, is a beautiful root vegetable on the inside. It’s crispy when raw, silky smooth when cooked and has a delicate taste which suggests the flavors of celery and parsley with a slight nuttiness. Celery root’s season is late fall through winter and in this recipe, adds an interesting dimension of flavor to ho hum potatoes.”
      She has me convinced, for sure. And as we say in Italian about particularly unattractive things that are wonderful, “brutti ma buoni!”

  1. Celery root is lovely, the one thing that I am always fighting with is peeling and (esp) slicing them… 🙁 . I have taken to slicing them first in thick slices, then peel the slices and divide them into easier to handle parts.

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