With a decade of experimentation making latkes, my favorites are made from a combination of russet potatoes, sweet potato, parsnip, yellow onion and fresh ginger. I like the addition of fresh milled pepper and fennel. Peanut oil is best for frying these if you want that golden crunchy brown on the outside without such fear of charring. If you have allergies, you want to use a substitute oil with a high smoke point. Of course there is always schmaltz; I probably shaved years off my life using a goose fat version, for frying, while I lived in Germany, but I am staying away from that now. I also love serving these with sour cream and homemade applesauce. If you have kosher company, (or are kosher) you can't mix sour cream with the use of animal fat....so another good reason to stay away. - Sagegreen —Sagegreen
Test Kitchen Notes
We love the lacy, tangled appearance of these deep golden latkes. The mix of sweet potato, unpeeled Russets and parsnip keeps the pancakes from being stodgy, and the fennel and fresh ginger tickle your tongue in the most pleasant of ways. It may seem like Sagegreen calls for an awful lot of flour, but there's no trace of that raw flour taste once these guys are fried. These latkes are great with sour cream and applesauce, but they're also pretty addictive with nothing more than a shower of fine sea salt. - A&M —The Editors
Hand grate the sweet potato, onion, and parsnip using the large holes into a large bowl first. I think hand grating is the only way to go for these.
Wash and scrub the russet potatoes very well, leaving the skins on. Remove any imperfections. Grate these last into the bowl with the other vegetables. Add the salt, pepper, fennel, and ginger. Let rest a few minutes.
Using a colander (or cheesecloth if you prefer) wring all the excess moisture from the mix. Repeat, then return to the bowl. You can also squeeze handfuls of the mix in your hands to help.
Mix in the beaten eggs and flour.
Generously coat the bottom of a heavy pan with peanut oil (or other suitable oil). The oil need not be deeper than 1/8 inch, if even that. If you prefer thicker latkes, then you might have up to1/4 inch oil. Heat to medium high until a drop of liquid would sizzle in the pan.
Working in small batches ladle the mix to the heated pan to form 5-7 latkes with about a 3 inch diameter and about a 1/4 inch thickness after pressing down gently on the mix with a spatula. Fry each one on one side until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side until golden. Try to keep the depth of oil as low as possible, but make sure the vegetables cook through- soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside. Drain on paper towels. You should have 15-20 latkes from this recipe.
Serve warm with generous dollops of sour cream and preferably homemade heirloom applesauce.