Latkes are a symbol of abundance. In Judaic tradition, oil that was seemingly enough to last only a single evening burned for a total of eight days. We commemorate this astonishing event by celebrating foods that require oil to cook—the coating at the bottom of a pan that ensures food doesn’t stick, the fat that equals flavor.
In our middle school classes, students are encouraged to work independently, which can sometimes result in overlooked steps if they don’t closely consult the recipe. During a class yesterday, the first day of Hanukkah, Middle School students at P.S. 276 were making their own black bean brownies. They blended all the ingredients and were about to pour the batter into the pan to cook when one of them sounded the alarm. “Wait! Did we remember to grease the pan?!” The answer of course, was no. They scrambled to retrieve the bottle of oil. Crisis averted.
When making these latkes, you will need to be somewhat generous with your oil to ensure they don’t stick. Also encourage patience when it comes to squeezing liquid out of the potatoes. Potatoes that are still somewhat moist won’t clump together into pancakes, and you’ll end up with a shredded, grayish mess.
Enjoy your latkes and celebrate abundance.
SWEET POTATO LATKE WITH HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 yellow onion
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
olive oil for cooking
Prepare applesauce: Add all applesauce ingredients to a sauce pot set over medium-high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes, covered, mixing every so often to help cooking.
While applesauce cooks, make latkes: Grate sweet potatoes and onion using the largest setting on a box grater. Spread potatoes and onions on a paper towel, cover with more paper towels and press to remove as much water as possible, set aside.
Whisk together egg, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in potatoes and onions, mixing to combine. Warm about 1/4-inch of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place a scoop of potato mixture into the pan and flatten with a spatula. Fry until darkly golden, about 6 minutes, flip and fry another 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels and continue. Serve with applesauce.