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by Diane Rossen Worthington
I have the perfect dish for you. Try these crispy sweet potato gems as an appetizer or a side dish with your festive meal.
Instead of serving them with applesauce and sour cream, try garnishing with a dollop of your favorite cranberry sauce and a dab of sour cream.
This version combines the Idaho russet with the American sweet potato sometimes called a yam. Most markets sell two sweet potato varieties: moist and dry. The moist sweet potato variety, a reddish-brown, moist sweet potato is often labeled a yam. I prefer this for holiday cooking to the drier, light brown-yellow skin and pale-flesh sweet potato that is decidedly less sweet. While it isn't truly a yam, the flesh is bright orange and sweet. The starch and moisture in the russet potato helps the pancakes keep their shape and fry crisply, while the yams add a faint sweet flavor and pretty color.
This no-fail method purees the eggs and onions in the food processor until fluffy and then the potato chunks are pulsed in until they resemble finely grated potatoes. I usually test one in hot oil before I start cooking a batch to make sure they are seasoned just right. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop the batter into the hot oil; you can also use a ladle or large spoon.
The pancakes can be made ahead and frozen so all you will need to do is reheat them in a very hot oven and serve. You'll also find a make-ahead recipe guide bellow.
Advice for the clever cook:
-- Wear old clothes when frying since you will smell like fried oil when you are finished.
-- Use canola oil.
-- Use nonstick skillets for ease in turning.
-- Cook them on medium-high heat.
-- This recipe easily doubles or triples if you are having a crowd. I like to use a small ice cream scooper to drop them into the hot oil. You can also use a ladle or large tablespoon, depending upon the size you want them to be.
-- Have a flat wire strainer nearby to collect any particles that stay in the oil; if the oil becomes too dirty, discard and begin again.
-- Don't crowd the pan or the oil temperature will drop and the pancakes will oily.
-- Have a wide spatula for turning them.
-- Make sure to place the pancakes on paper towels to remove any excess oil before serving.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Serves 4 to 6.
1 onion, quartered
2 large eggs
1 unpeeled russet potato (8 to 12 ounces), scrubbed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 sweet potato (sometimes called a yam) (8 to 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
Canola oil for frying
Sour cream and applesauce or favorite cranberry sauce, for serving
1. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree the onion and eggs together until smooth and fluffy. Add the russet and sweet potatoes, and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but still retains some texture. Add the salt, pepper and flour, and quickly process to combine. Do not overprocess. Pour the batter into a medium bowl.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter sit for 15 minutes.
3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 3/4 inch oil over medium-high heat. Pour 1 tablespoon batter into the skillet to test the oil. If it is hot enough, the pancake will begin to sizzle and brown. Spoon a tablespoon of the batter into the skillet, leaving a little room between each pancake. Flatten them with the back of a spoon and use the spatula to round the sides, if necessary. Fry the pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the bottom, then turn them and brown the other side, about 2 more minutes.
4. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet lined with 2 layers of paper towels. To serve immediately, place the pancakes on a platter. Or place on a baking sheet and keep warm in a preheated 250 F oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve sour cream and applesauce or cranberry sauce on the side.
Advance Preparation: To freeze the potato pancakes, lay them on a double sheet of aluminum foil and enclose the pancakes tightly in the foil. Make sure the pancakes are cool and then place on a flat surface in the freezer. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 425 F and place the foil packets on a baking sheet. Remove the top sheet of foil so that the pancakes will bake evenly. Bake the frozen pancakes for 5 to 10 minutes, or until heated through and brown and crispy.
Vegetable Side-dish Recipe, American Cuisine
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"Sweet Potato Pancakes"
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