Oh those silly people over at Gourmet. Leave it up to them to take a perfectly good thing (potatoes + hot oil) that I could eat all day and make it even better. Here, traditionally potato latkes are made with sweet butternut squash and paired with a savory yogurt sauce. They’re addictive!
The original recipe works pretty well. But as you may notice from the comments, people seem to run into issues, as the mushiness of the squash makes the latkes fall apart when fried. Here’s my take, from some trial and error:
Halve a butternut squash, sprinkle the open sides with garlic granules, and cook most of the way. 30-40 minutes in a 425 oven or 4-6 minutes in the microwave should do – keep a close eye on it. Take the squash out and pop it in the freezer to cool so it can be handled. Meanwhile, thinly slice an onion and matchstick half a granny smith apple. Melt 2 T butter in a pan and brown the onion and apple in the pan with some minced garlic.
Peel the squash halves – they should be soft but not completely mushy. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate as much of the squash as you can, and, using your hands, mush the rest. By not cooking the squash all the way you avoid releasing all the moisture that causes issues for the recipe. Add the onion mixture to the squash, one egg, and about 1/2 a cup of flour. Mix together gently with your hands. It should have the consistency of a sticky dough, like cookie dough.
Set the dough/batter aside and make the pine nut and sage yogurt. I like to use Greek yogurt, or anything that’s a little thicker than the usual Dannon brand. Gently melt 4T butter and over low heat, sweat 4-5 chopped sage leaves and a handful of pine nuts. I used slivered almonds on this occasion and they were also lovely. Stir the butter into 1 cup of yogurt and set aside.
Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a pan until it shimmers. You can drop a tiny piece of dough/batter in to see if it’s hot enough. When the dough starts to pop, slide tablespoons of latke batter into the oil and use an oiled fork to flatten them into discs about 3 inches wide. If you flatten them all the way, you won’t end up with any soft butternut squash in the middle, which might be preferable to your tastes – but as fair warning, they can be hard to scrape off the pan if you push them down too hard.
My latkes end up being about 1/2 inch thick. I don’t mind that they aren’t crunchy all the way through, but your tastes may differ. Drain on paper towels and serve with the sage butter yogurt.