Every year I create a new latke recipe for the Hanukkah season. Potatoes are so last year; inspiring roots and vegetables set the current trend.
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.
Plantain Latkes with Avocado Crema
For the plantain latkes
2 green plantains
¼ of a large yellow onion (or ½ small yellow onion)
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 whole egg, whisked
¼ cup matzah meal
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. smoked chipotle
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 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbs. water (for consistency)
Salt and pepper, to taste
First prep your ingredients. Use a paring knife to peel and remove the tough skin on the plantain and discard. Chop flesh into chunks that can fit through the feed of a food processor (or use a hand grater if you prefer).
Using a food processor with the small shredding blade, shred the plantains and the onion. Place the mixture in a bowl, add the grated garlic cloves, egg, matzah meal and spices, and mix everything together well.
Next, heat a large frying pan with enough canola oil to coat the bottom. Heat to about 360 degrees, or you can test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small piece of batter in pan — if the oil sizzles, it’s ready.
Spoon a tablespoon-sized amount of latke mixture into the pan and slowly add it to the hot oil. Lightly grease the back of the 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 latke to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with salt.
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.
Serve the latkes with avocado crema and garnish with additional cilantro.
Samantha Ferraro is the food blogger and photographer for the Little Ferraro Kitchen (www.littleferrarokitchen.com).