Mini Sweet Potato and Shallot Pancakes with Toppings
Makes 16 two-inch pancakes
A plate of latkes is topped with horseradish, sour cream and smoked salmon, lemon and fried sage leaves.
This is a twist on traditional latkes, or potato pancakes, using sweet potatoes, which are so much less starchy, far healthier and more glamorous than plain old white ones. Grate the sweet potatoes with shallots and a subtle hint of freshly ground nutmeg, and fry them in hot vegetable oil. I like serving them on a platter with various toppings: a dollop of sour cream, applesauce, mango chutney and apple chutney. Pick one or use them all.
4 medium sweet potatoes, about 1½ pounds
2 medium shallots, peeled
2 eggs, whisked
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon
About 3 cups vegetable oil
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Using the largest opening on a cheese grater, grate the sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Grate the shallots on the same large opening and mix with the sweet potatoes.
2. Add the eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and flour. Stir well to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
3. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat. The oil should be at least 1-inch deep. Let the oil get really hot. To test, add a small piece of grated potato—the oil should sizzle right up.
4. Make a pancake from about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter, forming it into a circle about 2 inches wide. Add the pancakes to the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat slightly and, using a slotted spoon, gently flip the pancakes over. Cook another 2 minutes. Drain the pancakes on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter. You can keep the drained pancakes warm on a cookie sheet in the preheated oven for about 5–10 minutes. Serve hot.
Variation: Add ¼ cup minced chives to the pancake batter and very thinly sliced scallions instead of shallots.