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Purple Sweet Potato Latkes with Pecorino

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
10 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins
10 latkes

Chef notes

This recipe is derived from a cheese frico traditionally found in Friuli, Italy. It is essentially a mix of potato, cheese and onion that's then fried. Here, I've added my own interpretation of one of my favorite Italian snacks, which makes the perfect Italian-inspired latke.

Sweet potatoes are naturally lower in water content than traditional russet potatoes, so these latkes don't require as much drying or wringing through a cheesecloth. If the latkes still seem a bit wet, bind them with a few tablespoons of rice flour.

Swap options: Chicken fat can be swapped for olive oil. If you can't find pecorino toscano, a mild fontina or even a low moisture mozzarella will work instead.

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  • 1 purple sweet potato (about 13 ounces)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1/3 cup (2.75 ounces) finely grated pecorino romano
  • 2/3 cup (5 ounces) pecorino toscano       
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) chicken fat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed Calabrian chilies
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour (optional)
  • caviar, sour cream or applesauce, to serve



Grate the potato, onion and pecorino cheeses using largest size on a box grater.


Drain excess liquid using a cheesecloth or clean dish towel.


Place the drained potato mixture in a bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.


Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat (just enough to cover the pan, about 1/4-inch deep).


Form the latkes into small patties about the size of your palm (about 3 ounces each).


Working in batches, place the latkes in the pan and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.


Remove and place on paper towel-lined plate.


Enjoy with your choice of caviar, sour cream or applesauce.