While I tend to be a purist about such things, adding a little grated sweet potato to my latkes sweetens the holiday celebration.
Russet potatoes (often sold under the brand name Idaho) are nice and starchy, which results in latkes with crispy edges and a lovely creamy center. Sweet potatoes are low in starch, and are there for flavor, but not texture. That’s why it is important to not use too much sweet potato — you’ll end up with soft, not crispy, latkes.
You can use the large holes on a box grater, or better still: the grating blade on a food processor. Again, be sure you use the large holes.
While nothing is as good as a latke right out of the frying pan, it can be difficult to feed a crowd that way. To reheat and serve latkes made in advance and keep the edges crispy, refrigerate fried latkes on a sheet pan in a single layer. Before serving, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Place them in a preheated 375-degree oven and they will warm through in about 6 to 7 minutes. The key is to keep the latkes in a single layer and not pile them on top of each other.
Two Potato Latkes
1 ½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and shredded
¾ pound sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 medium onion, shredded (about ½ to 3/4 cup)
1 large egg
¼ cup potato starch (all-purpose flour may be substituted)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Olive and/or canola oil to fill the skillet ½ inch deep
1. Combine the potatoes and onion in a bowl: stir in the egg, potato starch (or flour), salt and pepper.
2. Fill a large skillet ½-inch deep with the oil. (You can use any combination of olive and canola oils). Heat the oil over medium until it shimmers, but do not allow it to get so hot that it smokes. (If you use a thermometer, the oil should be at 350 degrees).
3. Use a 1/3 cup measure to scoop the potato mixture into the pan, and pat it lightly with a spatula to form 3-inch latkes. Cook 3 ½ to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the latkes from the pan with a slotted spatula, shaking well to drain off the oil, and place on a sheet pan lined with paper towel to drain.
4. The latkes may be served immediately, kept warm in a 200-degree oven, or allowed to cool before refrigerating.
MAKES 14-16 LATKES