By Annabel Cohen
Hanukkah! It’s here. And now’s the time to get your latke on. Fried and succulent with a hint of onion and generously dolloped with sour cream and fresh applesauce.
If you must have other foods, make … another type of latke! My version below with beets, carrots and parsnips is crazy colorful and so modern.
Try my applesauce. It couldn’t be easier and you’ll never buy the jarred stuff again.
Still need more? Try my salad — fattoush with chickpeas. And, if you must have a bit of protein, add some chicken the mix. Hanukkah sameach!
Take a classic cold salad, add some grilled or roasted chicken and high-protein chickpeas and you have a cool and filling entrée salad.
- 3 pocket pita breads
- 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 3 cups chopped, seeded curly cucumbers
- 2 cups chopped, seeded plum or Roma tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas or garbanzos, drained well
- 1 cup chopped scallions, white parts only
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup chopped mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon sumac (a spice available in spice and Middle-Eastern specialty markets)
- 4 small chicken breasts (about 1¼ pounds) (grilled or baked), cut into ½ inch chunks
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of pepper
Cut pitas in half and pry open the pockets (or tear the halves apart). Place the pitas on a baking sheet and toast until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Break up into 1-inch pieces.
Just before serving, combine salad ingredients, EXCEPT PITA, in a large bowl and toss well. Quickly whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Add the pita and toss well. Serve immediately. Makes 4 entrée servings.
Latkes: The Classic Version
- 2 pounds Idaho or russet potatoes, peeled or not
- 1 cup chopped yellow onions
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons flour (more if needed)
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying
Make latkes: Coarsely grate potatoes by hand (with a box grater) or in the food processor and let them sit until they turn reddish-brown, about 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a strainer and rinse well with cold water until the potatoes are white again. If the strands of potato are too long (as sometimes happens with a food processor), chop them slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, onions, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix and let stand for 10 minutes before frying.
In a large skillet, heat 1/8 inch of oil until very hot but not smoking. Make a test pancake by dropping a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture into the skillet. Using a spoon or spatula, form the mixture into a circle shape. Don’t worry if your pancake is not a perfect circle. Cook 3 minutes or so on each side until the pancakes are golden and cooked through. NOTE: As latke batter sits, it becomes more “watery.” Stir each time before you use the batter.
Drain the latke well on paper towels or on flattened, paper grocery bags placed over baking sheets. Taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper and make the latkes until the potato mixture is gone. If you must add more oil, do it when the skillet it empty, never pour new oil onto cooking latkes, it makes them greasy. Serve with lots of applesauce or sour cream. Makes 8 servings.
Parsnip, Kale, Beet and Carrot Latkes
I use a food processor to grate or “shred” the vegetables
- 2 cups finely shredded parsnips
- 2 cups finely shredded raw beets
- 2 cups finely shredded carrots
- 2 cups finely chopped kale
- 1½ cups chopped onions
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs, plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper, to taste
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Combine the vegetables, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir well. Heat oil in a skillet and fry until golden and crispy on both sides.
In a large skillet, heat 1/8-inch of oil until very hot but not smoking. Make a test pancake by dropping a heaping tablespoon of the vegetable mixture into the skillet. Using a spoon or spatula, form the mixture into a circle shape. Don’t worry if your pancake is not a perfect circle. Cook 3 minutes or so on each side until the pancakes are colored and cooked through. NOTE: As latke batter sits, it becomes more “watery.” Stir each time before you use the batter and add more breadcrumbs if needed.
Drain the latke well on paper towels or on flattened, paper grocery bags placed over baking sheets. Repeat with remaining batter. If you must add more oil, do it when the skillet it empty, never pour new oil onto cooking latkes, it makes them greasy. Serve with sour cream. Makes 8 servings.
World’s Easiest Applesauce
Easy enough to make all the time and far superior to the commercial stuff. If I keep the skin on, the applesauce is pinkish.
- 3 pounds cooking apples, such as McIntosh (about 8-9 medium fruit) cored and quartered, skin on or off
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 10 minutes. Stir with a fork and mash slightly. Cover again and cook in 5-minute increments until the apples are quite soft. Allow to cool slightly before placing the mixture in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, but still a bit lumpy if you like. Serve the applesauce warm or chilled. Makes about 4 cups of applesauce.