Butternut Squash Latkes with Pine Nut Yogurt Sauce

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Happy December 26th everyone! This marks the beginning of the week where most of us pretend to work until New Year’s, which is why my opener wasn’t something along the lines of “back to the grindstone”. Because, let’s be realistic and say that it’s really not for tons of us. That being said, I hope your Christmas Day was lovely and enjoyable and delicious.

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These latkes were part of the festivities while we put up our tree a few weeks ago. They were insanely good and the flavors were perfect for the occasion. I’ve made potato latkes before, but I’d never tried the method with any other vegetable. I’m happy to report that butternut squash makes a perfect vehicle for latke goodness.

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Since we made these to accompany setting up the Christmas tree, it’s got me thinking: how long is the ideal time to leave the tree up? It seems as though no two families agree on this one, and of course whether you use a real or artificial tree plays a large determining role. In my family of origin, my parents generally were fans of taking it down pretty quickly after Christmas Day ended. It was usually an artificial tree (though a few years it was real), and I always remember wistfully wishing we could leave it up just a few more days. But I can also understand wanting to go into the New Year with that large chore checked off one’s to-do list.

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Now that I’m grown with my own family, I do things differently and have new traditions. Matt and I always get a real tree, mostly because we have a small NYC apartment and there’s simply no space to store an artificial one the other eleven months of the year. And we generally leave it up until the second full week of January. I’m not sure why, other than we both just really enjoy it. Though perhaps it’s a sign of things to come. Maybe we are inadvertently becoming *those* people, and when we have a house we’ll be the idiots who still have Christmas lights on their roof in March. Hopefully not.

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What’s your tradition? Real or artificial tree? And do you take it down right away, or leave it up for awhile?

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Source: heavily adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2008

Ingredients:
PINE NUT YOGURT SAUCE:
1 (7 oz.) container plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs pine nuts
1 tbs chopped fresh sage
Kosher salt and black pepper

BUTTERNUT SQUASH LATKES:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and seeded
4 large fresh sage leaves, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 shallots, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 egg white
Kosher salt and black pepper
Vegetable or olive oil

Directions:
PINE NUT YOGURT SAUCE:
Place the yogurt in a small to medium sized bowl. Melt butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and sage; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir until nuts and butter turn brown, about 4 minutes. Stir butter mixture into the yogurt. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH LATKES:
Using a box grater, grate the squash on the coarse setting. Transfer the grated squash to a clean dish towel. Wring out the liquid and then transfer the squash to a large mixing bowl. Do this in batches if necessary.
To the squash, add the sage, garlic, shallot, cumin, and egg white, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir with a spatula to combine well.
Drizzle some olive oil into a large, nonstick saute pan and place over medium-high heat. You want a good film of oil on the bottom of the pan, but don’t go overboard – you’re not deep-frying here.
When the oil is hot, place several mounds of the squash mixture carefully in the pan. Use the back of a spoon to flatten them a little. The size of the mounds is up to you; I just used a large cereal spoon to make mine. There’s no need to roll them in your hand like you’re making a meatball, just use your fingers to tuck in any loose squash strands as needed.
Let them cook until nicely browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip them and cook another two minutes, or until the second side is nicely browned. Adjust your heat level as needed, as you want them browned but not burned. Cook in batches as needed.
When each latke is done, remove it to a plate. When ready to serve, place the latkes on a platter and top each with a dollop of the Pine Nut Yogurt Sauce.

2 responses to “Butternut Squash Latkes with Pine Nut Yogurt Sauce

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin and Fried Sage Pizza, Plus a Thanksgiving Round-Up | The Texan New Yorker

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