Sweet Potato Latkes

These latkes are light, crisp, and just sweet enough, using a combination of Yukon Gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onion. If you’ve never had latkes, especially if you’re a potato lover and extra especially if you’re a hash brown lover, you absolutely must try these. Even if you dislike sweet potato (which I always have), you have to try this recipe. It’s nothing like mushed up sweet potato that someone probably threw some extra sugar into along with cinnamon and nutmeg, as if you’re about to eat dessert or pumpkin pie. Seriously…give these a shot 😉


THE RECIPE


Sweet Potato Latkes as adapted from The Food Network Kitchens

(makes about 8)

Don’t forget to check out my Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions at the bottom of the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a medium, Vidalia onion
  • 1/2 lb Yukon Gold potato, peeled
  • 1/2 lb sweet potato, peeled
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and put it in the oven to keep your latkes crisp and warm while the remaining ones are still frying.
  3. Place a clean, lint-free towel into a large bowl.
  4. Grate your onion and both potatoes onto the towel, running down the length of the potatoes to achieve long strands. If you have a box grater, I recommend using the larger grate to help keep the starches from adversely affecting the texture of the latkes.
  5. Once grated, close the towel and wring out the excess liquid into the sink until you can’t get anymore out.
  6. Empty the mixture into the bowl and toss with the flour, salt, and egg, ensuring everything is coated evenly.
  7. Fill a large heavy-bottomed skillet or saute pan with 1/4-inch of oil and place over medium heat.
  8. Once the oil is ready, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the latke mixture and lightly press it into a thin patty.
  9. Very gently slip the patty into the oil and repeat a few more times, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
  10. Cook the latkes for about 2 or 3 minutes per side, turning only once, until just golden.
  11. Carefully transfer to the rack in the oven to keep crisp and warm until the remaining are ready.
  12. Once all the latkes are finished, serve immediately!

Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions

Vidalia Onion: These are sweet onions (also known as yellow onions), so I don’t recommend replacing them, but feel free to try any other mild onion if you can’t find a sweet yellow/Vidalia.

Wringing Liquid Out of Potatoes: This removes most of the starches from the potatoes, which would normally cause the texture to turn a bit gluey–if you have this kind of issue with homemade hash browns, that’s why!

Mixing all the Ingredients: The quickest and most efficient method is to just use your hands. If you don’t like the idea of getting raw egg on your hands, though, feel free to lightly beat it first and then mix into the potatoes/onion with a utensil.

Heating the Oil: It can take several minutes to heat to the right temperature and you can tell it’s ready if you stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the center of the oil and little bubbles immediately start to crowd around it and disperse. Until this happens, your oil is too cool and will leave you with heavy, oily latkes. Yuck!

Placing the Patty in the Oil: As I said in the directions, gently slip the patty into the oil. I’ve seen people afraid of getting burnt with hot oil (or boiling water), so they drop things into it from high above, as if that will save their hands getting hurt. Don’t do this, you will get burned! The burning hot liquid will just splash everywhere. You need to literally slip the patty into the oil, getting your hand very close to it. It’s only 1/4 inch of oil, you’ll be fine. If you’re timid, put the patty on a metal spatula to slip it carefully into the oil.

Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: If you fry too many latkes at once, the temperature of the oil will drop, causing greasy latkes. It’s better to be patient and fry in small batches.

Serving: From what I know, traditional condiments would be sour cream, horseradish, or (my favorite) apple sauce. If you pair these latkes with Simple Pot-Roasted Brisket, I recommend going with the apple sauce. Of course, you don’t have to use any condiment, at all, if that’s your preference! These are, and will be, wonderful all on their own.


THE STORY


Is there anything better than potato? In all forms, potatoes are awesome! I just can’t get enough. Smashed, whipped, boiled, baked, grilled, fried, flavored with nothing but butter, covered in tons of herbs and Parmesan cheese…however you can make a potato, I will probably eat it! So, it’s no surprise that I would adore latkes. They’re like comfort food, which I suppose all forms of potato are, but not in the same way. Think about hash browns, the great kind you get for breakfast at the local diner, where they’re perfectly grated and a crispy golden brown on the outside, but soft and fluffy inside. Latkes are nearly the same! But fried in a shallow pan of oil and served alongside a tart, homemade apple sauce, they’re even better 🙂

I first tried latkes in college. A close friend of mine since way back in the 7th grade is Jewish, so I had the privilege of growing up hearing about so many great foods that I was just dying to try (just check out my last entry about brisket!), one of which was latkes, of course! Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. This particular year was around the dawn of The O.C. Remember that show? Ugh…But, back then, we loved it! And, even moreso, we loved Adam Brody and the amazing holiday his character made up that would forever go down in history (for us). Christmukkah. Half Jewish, half Christian (like my friend was!), he received the gift of two holidays rolled into one and we took full advantage of this to begin a yearly celebration of two of the greatest holidays known to man, Christmas and Hanukkah (was that not obvious? Haha).

So, for our very first Christmukkah, we had to serve dishes that were both Christmas traditions as well as Jewish! Hence the latkes. I don’t believe either of us had ever made them before; I certainly hadn’t, but I don’t believe my friend had, herself, either. Luckily, they turned out amazing! I found a recipe on Food Network that used equal parts sweet potato, Yukon Gold, and onion. Of course, I wasn’t very fond of onions, so I greatly, greatly reduced that portion. And nobody missed them. Wow, what flavor! The guys at our party ate them up before we realized they had even been touched. “Those hash browns were really good, do you have more!?” What hash browns?? Haha!

When I decided to finally try my hand at brisket tonight, I couldn’t miss the opportunity for a little side dish of sweet potato latkes. The only thing I missed was the homemade apple sauce, which was still in the freezer (yes, I have lots for my 1-year-old!), but I’ll get it next time 🙂 For leftovers, this week! Yummm…

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