It was about an hour before Shabbos and I got the idea into my head that I would make vegetable latkes. Not such a practical idea at that point in the day, but there was a recipe on the bottle of safflower oil for sweet potato zucchini pancake that sounded really good.
I wasn’t delusional enough to think that I could fry up individual fritters. Instead, I quickly mixed up the batter, slapped eight large patties onto a well oiled pan and threw the whole thing into a 500 degree oven. After a few minutes, when the laktes seemed to gotten firm enough to flip, I pulled the pan out of the oven and turned each pancake over and threw the pan back in the oven until they looked golden.
The results surprised me. First of all, the latkes tasted as if they were fried (with no mess!). Second of all, they had a delicate, sweet flavor and texture. The zucchini and sweet potato complemented each other in a way I didn’t expect. My husband said they reminded him of Ratner’s vegetable cutlets, but I thought they were much lighter.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Adapted from a recipe on a bottle of Hollywood Safflower Oil
1 medium zucchini, 6 ounces (the original recipe called for 2 cups, but didn’t have time to measure)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled (the original recipe called for 2 cups, but I didn’t measure)
(1/2 cup onion, finely chopped–I didn’t add and didn’t miss it)
1/3 cup matzoh meal (I eyeballed this)
(2 Tbl. matozoh cake meal–I didn’t add and it was fine)
1 1/2 tsp. salt (This first time I just eyeballed the amount rather than measure out the amount listed in the original recipe on the bottle of oil. I made this again and measured the salt–even 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt is too much, use only 1/2 tsp. salt)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Grate the vegetables (I used the food processor). Combine the vegetables with the rest of the ingredients (except the oil).
You can either fry the batter in a pan with hot oil (4 Tbl. oil), or you can try oven frying: line a baking sheet (or baking sheets) with non stick foil and pour over some oil to coat. Drop batter over the sheet pan to make round pancakes (whatever size you like–I went with large and got 8 patties). Bake at 450-500 degrees until the top of the pancakes seem dry. Take the sheet pan out of the oven and carefully flip each pancake using a spatula. Press down on the pancakes to flatten them a bit if the pancakes aren’t sitting flat on the pan. Stick the sheet pan back in the oven and bake until golden brown.
Update: I made these again, making more normal sized pancakes and got 17 pancakes about 2″-3″ in diameter. I fried some and baked some. It took me about 20-25 minutes to fry and the same amount of time to bake, and I liked the baked just as much as the fried.
Another update: I made potato pancakes the oven baked way and discovered something important. Non-stick foil is KEY. Do not use regular foil to line your pan. Parchment might work, but regular foil makes the latkes stick. I discovered this halfway through and transferred the latkes to non-stick foil and all was well again. USE NON-STICK FOIL!