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SEASONAL RECIPES

Recipe: Butternut-potato latkes have a crispy crunch everyone craves on Hanukkah

Butternut-Potato Latkes
Butternut-Potato LatkesSally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Makes about 20

The tradition of latkes for Hanukkah is based on the story of a miracle, in which ancient Jews only had a small amount of oil to rededicate the Temple in Jerusalem and light the candelabrum, and it lasted for eight days. The eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights begins the evening of Dec. 10, when the first candle on the menorah is lit. Foods fried in oil -- potato pancakes, doughnuts -- are the classic way to celebrate. One of the most basic lessons in cooking is understanding the role of fat. In frying, the hot oil is an efficient way to transfer heat to the surface of the food without overheating the interior. It also facilitates that delicious crispy, crusty crunch we all crave, while turning what you are frying into a beautiful golden color. Anyone who has ever fried latkes knows that they make a mess in the kitchen. But go ahead. They're worth it. These golden latkes swap out butternut squash for some of the potatoes (use starchy russets); grated butternut imparts a subtle sweetness to the batter. Serve them with applesauce or sour cream (or both). While all is upended this year, it’s a great opportunity to put a small new spin on a longstanding tradition.

2 eggs
¼cup flour
½teaspoon salt
teaspoons pepper
3 scallions, finely sliced, including some of the dark green
½cup chopped fresh parsley
12ounces peeled, seeded butternut squash, coarsely grated (to make 4 cups)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
½cup canola or vegetable oil (for frying)
Extra sprigs fresh parsley, leaves chopped or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (for garnish)
Extra coarse salt (for sprinkling)
1cup sour cream or applesauce, or both (for serving)

1. Set the oven at 300 degrees. Have on hand a food processor with a grating disk, or a box grater. You also need 1 or 2 large, heavy skillets. Line a plate with paper towels. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in the scallions, parsley, butternut, and potatoes; mix well.

3. In 1 or 2 large heavy skillets, heat enough oil to make a thin layer. When it is hot, pack a 1/4-cup measuring cup with the batter and drop it into the oil. Flatten it with the bottom of the cup. Make 3 more (a 12-inch skillet will hold 4 latkes). Leave space around each one. Cook for 3 minutes on a side, or until golden. Turn with a large metal spatula in one hand and a metal palette knife in the other. Transfer to the paper towels for a minute to drain excess oil, then to the baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven. Fry the remaining latkes in the same way, adding more oil to the pans as necessary.

4. Sprinkle with parsley or chives and salt. Serve with sour cream and applesauce, or both.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Makes about 20

The tradition of latkes for Hanukkah is based on the story of a miracle, in which ancient Jews only had a small amount of oil to rededicate the Temple in Jerusalem and light the candelabrum, and it lasted for eight days. The eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights begins the evening of Dec. 10, when the first candle on the menorah is lit. Foods fried in oil -- potato pancakes, doughnuts -- are the classic way to celebrate. One of the most basic lessons in cooking is understanding the role of fat. In frying, the hot oil is an efficient way to transfer heat to the surface of the food without overheating the interior. It also facilitates that delicious crispy, crusty crunch we all crave, while turning what you are frying into a beautiful golden color. Anyone who has ever fried latkes knows that they make a mess in the kitchen. But go ahead. They're worth it. These golden latkes swap out butternut squash for some of the potatoes (use starchy russets); grated butternut imparts a subtle sweetness to the batter. Serve them with applesauce or sour cream (or both). While all is upended this year, it’s a great opportunity to put a small new spin on a longstanding tradition.

2 eggs
¼cup flour
½teaspoon salt
teaspoons pepper
3 scallions, finely sliced, including some of the dark green
½cup chopped fresh parsley
12ounces peeled, seeded butternut squash, coarsely grated (to make 4 cups)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
½cup canola or vegetable oil (for frying)
Extra sprigs fresh parsley, leaves chopped or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (for garnish)
Extra coarse salt (for sprinkling)
1cup sour cream or applesauce, or both (for serving)

1. Set the oven at 300 degrees. Have on hand a food processor with a grating disk, or a box grater. You also need 1 or 2 large, heavy skillets. Line a plate with paper towels. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in the scallions, parsley, butternut, and potatoes; mix well.

3. In 1 or 2 large heavy skillets, heat enough oil to make a thin layer. When it is hot, pack a 1/4-cup measuring cup with the batter and drop it into the oil. Flatten it with the bottom of the cup. Make 3 more (a 12-inch skillet will hold 4 latkes). Leave space around each one. Cook for 3 minutes on a side, or until golden. Turn with a large metal spatula in one hand and a metal palette knife in the other. Transfer to the paper towels for a minute to drain excess oil, then to the baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven. Fry the remaining latkes in the same way, adding more oil to the pans as necessary.

4. Sprinkle with parsley or chives and salt. Serve with sour cream and applesauce, or both.Sally Pasley Vargas