22 December 2009

Sweet Potato Latkes

For our Hanukkah breakfast this morning (yes, yes, I know it's almost a week too late for that, but I'll be better next year. If we were Jewish I would be ashamed, but since we're not, I'm a little proud of myself for teaching the boys about it.) We read a story about the history and chatted a bit about the themes of bondage and liberation, faith, and light. It was delightful. Here's the recipe, and I know the latke purists will skewer me for what I've done, but they were a smashing success.

On a side note, I really need to get a better camera or a little food photo studio because my food photos make everything I love look disgusting and sickly. Alas, even technology can't fix them.
Sweet Potato Latkes
adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen

1 large sweet potato (1 pound), peeled
1 small onion (4 ounces), peeled
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Peanut oil, for frying

In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer strands, lay the potato sideways in the chute of your food processor. The long strands were awesome, like Spaghetti in a bundle. If you were using normal potatoes, you'd need to drain the water from them by wrapping in a cheesecloth sling, and squeezing them, letting them stand for 2 minutes, then squeezing dry again. Sweet potatoes are much drier, and mine did not require the super squeeze method.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, egg, salt and pepper together. Stir in the potato onion mixture until all pieces are evenly coated. I had to use my hands to get them thoroughly coated, and I still missed some; don't miss some.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

I didn't do this, but Deb makes this note for people who are smart, and I plan to be smarter at some point in my life. We'll see if that ever happens.

Do ahead: Latkes are a do-ahead-er’s dream. You can also keep latkes warm in the oven for an hour or more, if you’re waiting for stragglers to arrive. Cooked, they keep well in the fridge for a day or two, or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to two weeks. Reheat them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven until they’re crisp again. Bonus: If you undercooked them a bit or didn’t get the browning on them you’d hoped for, you can compensate for this in the oven.

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