So what are latkes? In case you have never heard of these, they are essentially a simple potato pancake, that can be found in the cuisines of many Middle- Eastern & European countries. For centuries, this dish has been mostly made with standard white potatoes, but depending on the country, may also include saurkraut, meat, tomato, and different types of flour.
Anything fried typically tastes great, (I mean who doesn't love french fries for example?), and although latkes can be viewed as a more humble dish, these particular ones would be considered anything but! Yes, they are simple, but it's the way the flavors of the sweet potato harmonize with the very mild, but flavorful leeks, and the slight "nuttiness" of the almonds. (Did I mention that these are Gluten-free?!) When they are fried, (or you could also bake these as well!), it truly alters the composition of these ingredients- caramelizing the leeks and potato to really give you that awesome (slightly) sweet and crunchy goodness! Believe me when I say that one will definitely not be enough- you will want more!! These are traditionally served with a side of applesauce, and/ or cottage cheese, sour cream, or Plain Greek Yogurt. You could also garnish them with some chives, scallions, or chopped herbs. Enjoy them alone, or as a side dish or appetizer!
Yield: About 12-16 latkes (24+ if you make them small for appetizers!)
2 medium sweet potatoes/ about 1 1/2# (peeled and shredded)
1/2- 3/4 of a large leek (sliced fine/ thin) **I used 3/4 of a whole leek, but it depends on your personal taste!
1/2 cup of almond meal (finely ground almonds) ***if allergic to nuts, use 1/2 cup of rice flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
**Garnish: Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, apple butter or apple sauce, cottage cheese, chives, scallions, etc.
1) Either in a food processor or by hand with a box grater, shred the peeled sweet potatoes. Try to remove as much of the liquid as possible by either placing in a colander and pressing down as hard as you can, or take an old thin kitchen towel, place the shredded potato in the middle, and wrap the towel around it, squeezing as much as possible to extract the liquid. Set aside. Slice the leek, and add to the potato. (I don't recommend shredding the leek in a processor, as it could make it too "mushy", or not slice it evenly. (Depending on the machine that is.) Since leeks are a bit different in composition compared to the typical onion, it's best to slice by hand.)
2) In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, salt and pepper, and mix well. Add in the potato, leek, and almond meal, and mix well to combine.
3) For frying: In a large skillet on medium heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of oil, and allow to heat up for a few minutes. When the oil is hot enough, (I test by sprinkling a bit of water- if it "pops" then the oil is hot enough!), begin placing about 1/4 cup of the mixture in spoonfuls into the pan- pressing down with a spatula to flatten. (I do about 3-4 at a time!)
Cook until golden brown- about 3-5 minutes per side. Using a slotted spatula, remove the latkes from the pan when finished, and allow to drain on a paper towel lined pan. Repeat the process until all of the mixture is gone!
For Baking: Preheat oven to 400F. Line 2 sheet trays with foil. Generously brush on enough oil to coat the foil on both trays really well. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture in rows on the sheet trays- making sure to leave enough space between the latkes to flip partway through baking. (About 12 to a tray.) Using a spatula, press down on the cakes to flatten. Bake at 400F for about 15-20min. Pull out of the oven, and flip over to the other side. Return to the oven for another 10-15min.
Remove from the oven when golden brown. Allow to cool slightly, garnish (if you wish), and serve warm!