Monday, January 26, 2009

the great sweet potato latke experiment

the first batch of golden-brown potato latke goodness
Cravings for the potato nests from my childhood intersected with the gift of a subscription of Gourmet for Christmas.

I made my first batch using baking potatoes and a recipe from the December issue over the Christmas holidays while BIL and GIL were here. The results were mouthwatering, but the photo doesn't do them justice.

Last week I freeformed a latke combination of sweet potato and zucchini, seasoned with cumin. I'm a big fan of the flavour of sweet potatoes, and I always look for an excuse to use them.

sweet pototo batch waiting to be fried golden-brown

Although they tasted wonderful, they didn't crisp up and stay together as well as my first batch. It may have been because I let them sit too long in the colander, or it may have been because sweet potatoes are just not as starchy as baking potatoes. I'd definitely make these again, however. Kids and adults alike gobbled them up.

The final product

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Latkes
adapted from two recipes in the December 2008 Gourmet


1 medium onion
4 sweet potatoes
1 large zucchini
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
About 1 cup vegetable oil for frying


1. Peel onions and cut lengthwise to fit into the feed tube of a food processor. Use medium shredding disk to grate. Transfer to a large bowl (do not clean processor).
2. Peel potatoes and put in a bowl of cold water. Cut potatoes lengthwise to fit feed tube, then grate and add to onions.
3. Peel zucchini and cut lengthwise to fit feed tube. Grate and add to onions and potatoes.
4. Toss with lemon juice, then with flour, breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add eggs and stir to coat. Transfer to a colander set over a bowl (potatoes will release juices). Do not let it sit for too long (First time I made the recipe, it sat for 15-30 minutes, second time was much longer)
5. Preheat oven to 200°F if you want to keep the latkes warm as you make the batches.
6. Pour enough oil for 1/4 inch depth and heat to 360°F in a heavy skillet over medium heat. The temperature is important to prevent latkes from browning too fast (and turning black)
7. Using a 1/4-cup measure, scoop 3 to 4 mounds of potato mixture into skillet. Flatten with a fork to form 3 1/2-to 4-inch pancakes. (Scoop, drop, then flatten to prevent issues with hot oil)
8. Cook until golden brown, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. (this is not a step you should walk away from). Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven while making more latkes.

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