Sweet Potato Gelt, Zucchini Latkes and More Twists on Hanukkah Classics
Crispy latkes, braised brisket, fresh doughnuts, chocolate gelt…it’s time to break out the Hanukkah staples. Just in time for the holiday, we asked chefs and authors around the country to tell us about their go-to recipes.
James Beard award-winning chef Michael Solomonov, co-author of Zahav and executive chef of Philadelphia’s renowned modern Israeli restaurant of the same name, says the key to making the perfect latke is to use just potatoes, which have enough starch on their own. Danielle Oron, author of Modern Israeli Cooking, makes her latkes with zucchini and serves them with eggs and a creamy dill labane sauce.
“Spice up those boring recipes with a modern take,” Oron said. “Have latkes for brunch or give your brisket a southern feel by braising it in beer! It’s good to change things up.”
From fresh takes on traditional dishes to tips that enhance classic recipes, let these ideas inspire your Hanukkah menu.
Zucchini Latkes Eggs Bennie With Dill Labane Sauce
“Making the latkes with zucchini instead of potatoes gives the dish more freshness and color. The flavor combination of the zucchini latkes, salmon, egg yolk and dill labane sauce works so perfectly together.” —Danielle Oron, Modern Israeli Cooking
Latke with Gravlax
“It’s hard to believe, but I learned how to make a perfect potato latke when I was working in a Northern Italian restaurant. The key is to only use potatoes, which have enough starch on their own. It makes them super crispy and light. The other important thing to remember is that potatoes can handle a lot of seasoning.” – Michael Solomonov, Zahav
Roasted Sweet Potato Hanukkah Coins
“When Hanukkah comes most of us are cooking latkes or doughnuts, the holiday’s most typical goodies. When we were kids, we also ate chocolate Hanukkah gelt, those awful tasting coin candies that are so cheap it makes you wonder whether there is actually any chocolate in them. I decided to take the coin idea in a different culinary direction. On Hanukkah I will also serve sweet potato coins. Roasted, crispy, seasoned sweet potato circles. Hanukkah gelt of a different sort.” – Ronnie Fein, The Modern Kosher Kitchen
Sweet Potato Latkes
“We love this twist on a [Hanukkah] classic and it’s our new go-to favorite! Instead of traditional potato latkes we substitute healthier, more flavorful sweet potatoes. These are so tasty on their own that you don’t need to serve them with the usual sour cream and applesauce. We find that no matter how many we cook up on [Hanukkah], they all quickly disappear.”
—Lori, Corky, Dana and Tracy Pollan, Pollan Family Table
Beer-Braised Holiday Brisket With Prunes Over Creamy Grits
“On any given Jewish holiday, boring brisket is on the menu. Jews don’t feel like it’s an actual holiday without it. But why does it have to be the same every single time? I’m over the basic brisket that’s sliced and swimming in a flatly flavored sauce that barely sticks to the meat. Oh … and the carrots. No one wants those mushy carrots.” —Danielle Oron, Modern Israeli Cooking
Crispy Home-Style Latkes with Homemade Applesauce and Sour Cream
“These latkes come out fluffy in the center and crispy on the outside, just the way we like them. Many latkes are dense, more like a mashed potato cake. These are so good you will want to make them anytime, and even if you are not Jewish and celebrating the holidays.” —Jennifer Carden, The Toddler Café & PlayfulPantry.wordpress.com
Mashed Potato, Kale and Feta Cheese Pancakes
“[Hanukkah] is always a fried food fest, to remember the 8 days of oil found by the Maccabees when they went to rededicate the Temple. Cheese is also a tradition, to honor Judith, who fed the enemy general cheese, which made him thirsty and drink too much wine, so he fell asleep and she cut off his head! My mashed potato and cheese pancakes combine these [Hanukkah] traditions in a most delicious way. They are less greasy than classic latkes and can be made ahead and rewarmed without losing any of their flavor or texture.” —Ronnie Fein, The Modern Kosher Kitchen