Originally, these weren't going to be latkes. It was going to be a Spanish tortilla. We had quite a few of them while we were in Madrid a few months ago, and one of the more memorable variations contained salt cod. I made a mental note to recreate it at home. When we returned, I started with regular, plain potatoes, and then moved up to sweet potato. By the time I got to work on one with salt cod, however, I realized that we were quickly approaching Hanukkah and felt that a latke was a more fitting preparation. And that's how I ended up here. I know you're probably thinking: Great story. Move on already, Brian! Just tell us how they turned out. Well, in my humble opinion, I think they're pretty awesome. If you're serving latkes to first-timers or to folks who will freak if they're not traditional, well, then I wouldn't try these out on them. But if you're with some more adventurous folks, then I think they'll be totally into these.
Salt Cod and Sweet Potato Latkes
Yield: 24 latkes
1/2 lb salt cod
1 lb peeled sweet potatoes, coarsely grated
1/2 cup grated white onion
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Crème fraiche, optional
Chopped chive, optional
Lemon wedges, optional
Place salt cod a shallow glass baking dish and cover with cold water. Soak the salt cod overnight.
Strain salt cod and place in a pot with fresh water. Set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Strain of water and transfer cod to a bowl. Flake fish with a fork.
In a separate bowl, mix together the grated sweet potato and onion, followed by the egg. Add flour, salt, and pepper and mix to combine. Fold in the salt cod.
Set a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, you can start cooking the latkes. Working in batches, spoon 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet for each latke. Using a spatula, press down lightly to form a pancake shape. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, until golden-brown.
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Serve with crème fraiche and chopped chive on top and lemon wedges on the side.