Countdown to Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Pancake

There’s only 1 week until Thanksgiving–my favorite food holiday of the year. My Thanksgiving is pretty traditional — turkey, stuffing and seasonal side dishes, but I often like to try a new recipe with the old familiar ingredients.

I love sweet potatoes, but I’ve never been a big fan of the ubiquitous super sweet Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows. This year I decided to make this Sweet Potato Pancake. Quick to prepare, the pancake is shaped by filling a non-stick or cast-iron pan with grated sweet potato and pressing on it as it cooks, until it conforms to the shape of the pan. The natural starch in the potato helps the pancake hold together and gives it a crispy, delicate texture.

The only tricky part of this pancake is the flipping. Its difficult to do with a spatula, so I usually employ a different method: After the pancake is browned and crispy on one side, I slide the pancake onto a plate and invert the empty pan over the pancake. Then, with one confident motion, flip the two over together, returning the pancake to the pan.

I serve the pancake with a dollop of creme fraiche– the French version of sour cream– mixed with a little chile pepper for heat. To me, the tangy-spicy mixture balances the sweetness of the potatoes, much better than marshmallows.

Sweet Potato Pancake with Chile Crème Fraiche

Makes 1 large pancake

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated (about 2 cups)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons chopped sage

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Clarified butter or canola oil for cooking

½ cup crème fraiche

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno or Serrano chile

1 teaspoon lime or lemon zest

2 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Combine the grated sweet potato, garlic, sage, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Warm an 8-inch non stick sauté pan over medium heat. Add enough clarified butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the sweet potato mixture and press with a spatula to fit the grated potato neatly in the pan.
  3. Cook the pancake over medium heat, pressing the surface periodically to encourage the potatoes to stick together and help the pancake form. If the pan begins to look too dry, drizzle a little more clarified butter around the edges of the cake. When the bottom of the potatoes are amber brown and beginning to crisp, flip the pancake over. Add a little more clarified butter to the pan. Continue to cook the pancake until the second side is crispy and brown and the potatoes are tender. Remove the pancake from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  4. Combine the crème fraiche, jalapeno, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve with the crème fraiche.

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