When I think about the exterior caramelization that happens when a shredded sweet potato hits hot oil, there's just nothing else for me.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I prefer sweet potatoes.
I know, I know. As an American Jew (two groups known for their deep love of the white potato), it's practically blasphemous for me to shun the humble Russet. And yeah, I can see its place in a recipe now and then: The toothsome steak fry. The knish. The pierogi--potatoes do makes sense there. But still, given the choice, I go for the yams.
It seems like the latke should be the kind of potato exception that a non-potato-lover like myself should make. But when I think about the exterior caramelization that happens when a shredded sweet potato hits hot oil, there's just nothing else for me.
Here, I've taken things over the top by adding more sweet root vegetables: carrots (I used rainbow carrots, but any kind will work), and beets, which add a pop of bright purple color, as well as earthy sweetness. I've kept the seasoning simple--just thinly sliced scallions, salt, and pepper, but these would welcome a bit of grated ginger, fresh turmeric, and/or minced garlic, too. Feel free to get creative.
But whatever you do, be sure to eat these hot, right out of the pan (or oven, where you'll warm them), with plenty of sour cream and/or applesauce. Tonight, I'll be serving these alongside mouthwateringly tender brisket and some roasted broccolini. But between you, me, and the applesauce, these latkes will be the star of the show.
I mean, just look at that. How could they not be?
- 2 pounds (orange-fleshed) sweet potatoes, scrubbed and grated (no need to peel) $2.50
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated $1
- 4 small beets, cooked, peeled, and grated (Trader Joes' Steamed and Peeled Baby Beets are a great shortcut here) $2
- 3 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and sliced thinly $1 for a bunch
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly cracked black pepper Pantry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten $1.50 for 6
- 1/3 cup flour Pantry
- oil, for frying (I like the flavor of a half-and-half blend of olive oil and cocont oil, but vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oils all work well) Pantry
Recipe Serves 6-8
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potato, carrots, beets, scallions, salt, pepper, egg, and flour. Stir well, using a spoon or your hands, until well-combined.
- Pour the oil into one or two large frying pans until it comes up about 1/2 inch in the pan.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat, until it sizzles when a piece of grated sweet potato is added.
- Wet your hands under running water, and form a latke into 2-1/2-inch rounds that are about 1/2 inch thick. (though you should feel free to make them larger or smaller as desired).
- Add the latke immediately to the hot pan and continue forming latkes and adding them to the pan, until the pan is full, with plenty of space between each latke. (To give you an idea of what this looks like, I cook 4-5 small latkes at a time in my 12-inch frying pan.)
- Cook for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning.
- Flip the latkes in the order you added them to the pan so they brown evenly, then cook for another minute or two, until the latkes are crispy on the outside.
- As the latkes finish, transfer them to a baking sheet (make sure to leave space between them), and keep warm in the oven.
- Serve the latkes hot, with sour cream, creme fraiche, or Greek yogurt, and applesauce (my favorite is this one, which features cardamom).