HAPPY 2017 - the year of the rooster and vision board making! There's something to be said for the simple unadorned potato and onion latke, the kind Bubbe used to make. I started making them as passed hors d'oeuvres for gatherings around the holidays and played with ways to change them up because why not? My first was a spin on a NY Times recipe that threw in grated apple to the mix with a side of greek yogurt, maple syrup and cinnamon. My friend Lee (and ambassador to all things Jewish and yummy) has been raving about the mashed sweet potatoes with chipotle peppers he had at Thanksgiving, a Bobby Flay recipe, and proposed I do a latke version at which I rolled my sleeves up and came up with a very solid recipe I think you'll like. As far as taste (and health) goes, I much prefer the sweet potato to the regular potato. Both tubers contain similar levels of calories, carbs, fiber, and protein but the sweets have a much lower glycemic index which means they're easier on your pancreas and loaded with more nutrients like beta carotene and Vitamins A and C that are almost absent from the regular white spud. I grate everything by hand but, but if you're pressed for time, throwing the potatoes, onion and apples into a food processor with the grater attachment can be your best friend. Grating them together is nice too because the onion juice keeps the potato and apple from oxidizing as quickly. I like to top mine with a dollop of the maple cinnamon yogurt, pecans, and celery leaves but feel free to add other toppings like walnuts, pistachios, chopped parsley, or applesauce.
Hints for keeping them crispy:
1. The less water, the crispier they get so ring them out really good in a dish cloth or cheese cloth.
2. Keep them bite sized and flattened in your hand to about 1/4 inch thick. I use a heaping tablespoon for a baller. Especially when serving them as hors d'oeuvres, they keep crispier longer when they are small and thin.
3. If doing in batches, replace with enough oil you started with. The less oil, the less crispy they become. And once you flip don't flip again or they'll be too oily.
1 lb or 3 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and grated
2 apples, Braeburn are nice, peeled, and cut into quarters, and grated
1 large onion, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle in adobo
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
Grapeseed oil (or olive oil) for frying
*For Maple Cinnamon Cream topping, mix together 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and a few dashes of ground cinnamon. Keep chilled until serving.
Using a coarse grater (or food processor with a coarse grater), grate potato, onion, and apples together and transfer mix to a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible and transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Working quick, toss the remaining ingredients in and stir until combined and all the flour is absorbed.
In a large heavy bottom nonstick pan over medium-high heat, pour in the oil where it comes up no more than about 1/4 of an inch. Once the oil is hot (a drop of batter should sizzle), ball out heaping tablespoons and flatten in your hand and carefully place them into the oil. Fit as many as you can without touching. Once you see the edges brown and crisp up, about 4-5 minutes, flip and leave them alone. Cook another 4-5 minutes until light brown and crispy and transfer to parchment paper.
Top with maple cinnamon cream, pecans, celery leaves, a dash of cinnamon and serve while still warm.