Squash the Latkes!

I must confess. I am a fritter fan. Fritters, latkes, call them what you will, I love these crispy, little, savory pancakes.

They remind me so much of my grandmother, though hers were made with potatoes and served exclusively with applesauce and a dusting of cinnamon. German to the core, these babies were something else. Fresh and hot from the oil with just enough grease and a sprinkling of kosher salt, nothing was better than Annie's potato pancakes.

Made with your choice of squash, potatoes or root vegetables, my hunch is that once you get creative with fritters, latkes or pancakes, you, too, will fall for this scrumptious way to (willingly and longingly) consume more vegetables.

In the summer, I frequently make zucchini fritters with a homemade aioli or a yogurt-herb dipping sauce. Over the last five years of this blog, I have in fact shared four fritter recipes--two recipes in 2011, one in 2012 and one in 2013--so let that be a testament to my affection for fritters.

Whenever the occasion presents itself, and always during Wurstfest and Passover, David and I make potato latkes which celebrates our collective heritages with some of our favorite edible memories.
But, truth be told, I had never ventured into the world of root vegetables or winter squash.

I have seen lots of recipes for beet, carrot as well as butternut squash latkes and a few months ago I purchased a lone spaghetti squash latke at the prepared food section of Whole Foods' flagship store in Austin--which totally opened my eyes to the true possibilities and versatility of spaghetti squash.

When we tested the spaghetti squash latke, we agreed that microwaving did not do it any justice, but in just one bite, we knew it had potential. And I knew that making them at home would be way better than this attempt. Why I particularly wanted to make them as home was because David was sorry I only bought one, so I knew we could be on to something...though we love spaghetti squash and use it as a pasta alternative quite frequently, I had never thought of using it in a fritter or latke.

As a subscriber of thekitchn.com, I remembered a recipe they featured in December (which I printed as a reminder to make the recipe) and decided to give it a shot. Adding mostly herbs, an egg, a touch of Pecorino-Romano and garbanzo (chickpea) flour, this recipe let the spaghetti squash shine and was free from gluten and grains which is always a plus.

Since I started today's blog post with a confession, here's another.

Of all the fritters, latkes and vegetables pancakes I have made, these are definitely my new favorite. Lucky for me, after we ate these, David said, "That was a good meal," and coming from an-on-the-road-to-reform-but-stubborn-carnivore-who-isn't-excited-about-another-vegetarian-meal, that is a real compliment.

(Not sure how to cook a spaghetti squash? This is the easiest safest way. I promise.)

Buen provecho!
Spaghetti Squash Latkes
The Cowgirl Gourmet thanks thekitchn.com for this perfect recipe

Print recipe

If you like zucchini fritters and potato pancakes, get ready to add spaghetti squash latkes to your list of favorites. 

The trick to making these latkes crispy? Let the cooked and shredded strands of spaghetti squash sit in a colander for 15 minutes. And then, using your hands, take one handful of squash and squeeze out the excess water. You will get at least two tablespoons of liquid, which prevents the latkes from crisping up. Place squash on the baking sheet and continue squeezing until all of the squash is done.

Serves 2

2-3 pound spaghetti squash
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
5 sage leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup grated Pecorino-Romano (or Parmesan)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, as desired
Peanut or grapeseed oil, for frying

To cook the spaghetti squash, follow these instructions. Once it has baked, shred the squash into "spaghetti" strands and place in a colander.
The trick is to squeeze, squeeze and squeeze the spaghetti squash to remove all of the water. Grab a big handful of squash and squeeze and then squeeze again. Place squeezed squash a large bowl.
To that bowl, add the green onions, parsley, sage and garlic and toss to combine. Fold in the egg and cheese, chickpea flour, salt and pepper. Toss until well combined.
Using your hands or a soup spoon, place the squash in your hand and form a flat disc. Place the latke on a plate and continue forming the latkes and flattening lightly, one by one.

Heat the oven to 400.

Heat a skillet over high heat and add a few tablespoons of oil. Once it is hot, test the temperature by placing a few strings of spaghetti and if the oil sizzles, you are ready. Remove the test and begin to cook the latkes.

Place a few latkes in the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Depending on the pan size, 3-5 latkes should fit at one time.
On another plate, place a few paper towels.

Turn the latkes when it is golden and crispy, this will take about 2-3 minutes. Flip and fry on the other side. When the latke is ready, remove it from the pan and place on the paper towel lined plate. When you have a few latkes on the plate, place it in the oven so it stays hot while you continue cooking the remaining latkes.
When ready to serve, plate and add a dollop of aioli, sour cream (or creme fraiche), sriracha-mayo or chipotle-mayo or yogurt-herb sauce.

Combine with a colorful salad filled with textures and flavors and enjoy.

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