Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sweet potato latkes

This week: sour cream, apples, egg

From weeks past: sweet potatoes

Staples: whole wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil

So I know it's Hanukkah, not Yom Kippur, but I have a confession to make: I bought more groceries today. And I spent $20, on top of the $60 I spent on Sunday.

In my defense, I had to throw away the mushrooms I bought on Sunday because they were totally rotten. My grocery store sucks. Rotten mushrooms, collard greens labelled as kale, no Hanukkah candles. Major white girl problems.

Also, although I enjoy pushing the boundaries of spoiled, I didn't think it was a good idea to keep testing my stomach with over-a-month-past-its-expiration-date sour cream. And you can't have latkes without sour cream... and homemade applesauce.... and bubbly... and Hershey's kisses? Oy.

Anyway, these latkes are bangin'. My mom and I make regular potato latkes together every Hanukkah season, and sometimes I make them again without her just because I love them so much. I'm a huge sweet/savory fan, so sweet potato latkes make sense. Plus, I still had some sweet potatoes I bought a couple of weeks ago. It felt like fate (strange that I continue to be wowed by the way these things work out, considering that this is a blog about making use of the ingredients I already have, but just go with it). It was a true Hanukkah miracle.

Important note: These are very lacy because that's the way I like my latkes, but if you want them more pancake-y, you can probably double up on the egg and flour. Personally, I think there's nothing better than fried sweet potato, but hey, different strokes for different folks. If you do it my way, just make sure you tightly mash the strands into patties because there's not a lot holding them together. I like to press the patties against a slotted spoon (or any kind of holey spoon) until they feel like clumps rather than a bunch of individual strands.

Happy Hanukkah!

Sweet potato latkes
Makes about 15 2 inch latkes

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated (in a food processor or with a box grater)
1 small yellow onion, grated (same)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (AP flour would work too)
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
vegetable oil (I used about 1/2 cup total)

Preheat oven to 250. Line a cookie sheet with 2 layers of paper towels. Mix all ingredients except for oil together in a large bowl. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until shimmering. Keep the bowl next to the stove, and form 2 inch patties one at a time, pressing them against a slotted spoon so they stick together (see above), then gently placing them into the oil. Be careful not to crowd the pan (I usually do 3 at a time). When the edges are lightly browned, after about 2 minutes, flip the latkes gently. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the other side is lightly browned. After a batch or two, you will get the hang of the timing. When the latkes are browned all over, remove to the paper towel-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt, and place in the warm oven. Sweet potato bonus: the burnt parts don't taste bad! Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce.

Note: the oil will change temperature as you add and remove latkes, so keep adjusting the heat so that the latkes continue to sizzle, but not sputter and burn, when you place them in the pan. You will probably also need to add vegetable oil to keep 1/4 inch in the pan as you fry.

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