I think I was in my mid-teens when I first tasted latkes. Naturally, I wondered where they’d been all my life. I love both making and eating them (including in an innovative way: wafflelatkes!!) but until recently, I’d never thought about using anything other than my beloved Russet potatoes for latkes. Several large and lovely sweet potatoes in the Holiday Farmers’ Feast basket from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market were beckoning, and I decided to experiment with using them instead of white potatoes. It seemed an appropriate way to honour Jewish food traditions during the week of Hannukah, and it was a most successful experiment. The hint of ginger complemented the potatoes’ flavour. We really enjoyed eating them with delicious grilled wild boar steaks from Abbatoir Lefaivre, topped with a gently spiced tomato-ginger chutney from Bryson Farms.
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) very finely minced onion
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil (add more to pan as needed)
- Preheat oven to 225F. Line a baking tray with paper towels and set aside.
- Peel and grate the sweet potato and put it in a mixing bowl. Add enough water to cover, plus 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes using a colander or sieve then put the damp potatoes in a clean dish towel to dry thoroughly, patting as needed to extract as much moisture as possible.
- Rinse and dry the bowl, then return the dried potatoes to the bowl. Add the onion.
- Beat the eggs with the flour until smooth. Add to the potatoes along with the salt, ginger and pepper. Stir to blend well.
- Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture per latke into the hot oil.
- Quickly flatten the latkes with a spatula or fork and fry until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides (about 5 minutes per side).
- Remove the cooked latkes to the prepared baking tray and keep warm in the oven while you finish cooking up the remaining sweet potato mixture.
- Be sure to stir the sweet potato mixture before adding each batch of latkes to the hot pan.
Serves 3 – 4.