By Samantha Ferraro
(The Nosher via JTA) — Every year I create a new latke recipe for the Hanukkah season. Potatoes are so last year, but inspiring roots and vegetables is the trend now.
Plantain chips are among my favorite treats; put a bag in front of me and it’s over. I blame my East Coast childhood for my addiction to Latin flavors. Sweet and salty plantains, deep flavors of paprika and sazon, and rice and beans are all my jam.
So with my deep love affair with Latin cuisine, I took this idea as inspiration for this year’s latke creation. Plantains fry up beautifully, as most may know from eating crispy plantain chips or tostones. To add a bit of depth, smoky chipotle and paprika are added to the shredded batter and as a complement to the savory latkes, a creamy avocado crema to dip the latkes in. Is there anything better?
A few cooking tips: The plantain mix will be a bit sticky, so when frying the latkes, oil the back of your spoon or spatula to gently press the latkes down so they don’t stick too much. The thinner the latkes, the crispier they will be, and crispy plantains are exactly what you want.
For the plantain latkes:
2 green plantains
¼ of a large yellow onion (or ½ small yellow onion)
2 garlic cloves, grated
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon smoked chipotle
1 whole egg, whisked
¼ cup matzah meal
Salt and pepper, to taste
Canola or grapeseed oil, for frying
For the avocado crema:
1 ripe avocado
¼ cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt is a good substitute)
1 lime, juiced
Small bunch of fresh cilantro leaves (about ½ cup)
Small bunch of fresh parsley leaves (about ½ cup)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons water (for consistency)
Salt and pepper, to taste
First prep your ingredients. Use a paring knife to peel the tough skin on the plantain and chop into smaller pieces, but large enough to fit through the feed of a food processor (or you can use a hand grater if you prefer).
Using a food processor with the small shredding blade, shred the plantains and the onion. Then add the mixture to a bowl and grate 2 garlic cloves, add the egg, matzah meal and spices, and mix everything together well.
Next, heat a large frying pan with enough canola oil to coat the bottom and allow to come up to about 360 F, or you can test it with a small piece of batter and if it sizzles, it’s ready.
Then spoon a tablespoon-sized amount of latke mixture into the pan, and slowly add it to the hot oil. Lightly grease the back of your spoon and gently press down on the latke so it fries up evenly. I add about 3-4 latkes to a large skillet.
Fry on first side until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes, then use a spatula to carefully flip over and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until crispy.
Once done, remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt as soon as they are done frying.
To make the avocado crema, add the avocado, sour cream, lime juice, herbs and spices to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Add a bit of water to make it a creamier consistency.
When everything is done, serve the latkes with avocado crema and garnish with additional cilantro.
The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com.