I think we’re all a bit surprised that December is already here. There are cards to address, gifts to be wrapped, and new traditions to be made. Even with all the chaos this time of year brings, it’s a great time to try new dishes at your dinner table.
If a recipe calls for butternut squash and sage, you don’t have to ask me twice. I was instantly sold on Bon Appetit’s “Festival of Latkes” feature in December’s issue, and this Jewish potato pancake made a surprise appearance the afternoon my husband and I decorated our Christmas tree. Cumin adds an unexpected warmth, and brown butter and toasted pine nuts….well, need I say more?
Butternut Squash Latkes with Sage and Pine Nut Yogurt Sauce
By Jayne Cohen, Bon Appetit
Makes 38 to 40
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 2-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
4 tablespoons olive oil (not extra-virgin), divided, plus additional for frying
8 large fresh sage leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup chopped shallots (about 6)
3/4 cup fine dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
Sage and Pine Nut Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with nonstick spray. Brush cut side of squash halves with 2 tablespoons oil. Place 2 sage leaves on cut side of each half. Place garlic clove in each cavity. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn squash, cut side down, on prepared sheet. Roast until tender and brown in spots, about 1 hour. Cool on sheet.
Discard sage leaves; reserve garlic. Spoon enough roasted squash into large measuring cup to measure 4 cups packed (reserve any remaining squash for another use); add garlic. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Scrape shallot mixture into processor; add 4 cups squash with garlic, breadcrumbs, cumin, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Blend until just smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Transfer squash mixture to large bowl; mix in eggs.
Add enough oil to heavy large skillet to coat bottom generously; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches of 7 or 8 and adding more oil as needed, drop 1 heaping tablespoonful batter for each latke into skillet. Dip back of fork into oil in skillet and flatten batter to 2 1/2-inch rounds. Fry latkes until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer latkes to rimmed baking sheets. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm uncovered in 350°F oven 15 minutes.
Serve latkes with yogurt sauce.