This recipe appears in this week’s edition of “From Tali’s Kitchen,” my biweekly cooking column in Binah magazine. On stands now!
Beat the Greeks and eat them, too! That’s pretty much what I was thinking when I developed this, my ultimate Chanukah salad. The base is a toned-down Greek salad, but with a twist: cubes of farmer’s cheese instead of feta. This milder, creamier cheese pairs well with the latkes and gives them more of a chance to stand out. Although honestly, I think they’d stand out even if they were sitting by themselves on a platter.
The combination of using potato starch in the batter and sizing them so small gives you light, fluffy centers and a crispy golden crunch on the outside. They cook quickly and perfectly — so well that I’m tempted to make all of my latkes this way.
If you’re hosting a Chanukah party, bring out a pretty platter and spread this salad out for everyone to see. But even if the only thing on your calendar is a night at home, it’s totally worth it to put this together. It’s on our dinner menu this Chanukah, I can tell you that.
P.S. This is my 400th post! Can you believe it?
Yield: 8 servings salad / 16 latke croutons
- 30 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 3 medium cucumbers, chopped
- 19 oz. (540 grams) pitted green olives, halved lengthwise
- 6 oz. (170 grams) farmer’s cheese, cut in small cubes*
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large potato
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp potato starch
- ½ tsp salt
- 5 Tbsp canola oil, for frying (and more as needed)
*The Israeli gvina kfarit melucha is very similar to farmer’s cheese.
1. In a large bowl, gently mix the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the top and give it a final toss. Set aside while you prepare the latkes.
2. Using a box grater or the shredding blade in a food processor, shred the potato. Scoop it into a thin kitchen towel or cheesecloth and wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer the potato shreds to a small bowl and mix with the egg, potato starch, and salt.
3. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet until you hear it sizzle. Pack a tablespoon-size measure with the latke batter, folding in any potato pieces that hang over the edges. Tap the tablespoon over the skillet to release the batter and fry until you can see the edges turning brown, about 1 minute. Flip and fry for 1 minute on the second side. Drain latkes on a paper towel-lined tray to remove excess oil and then place on top of the salad.
Tip: For an even more festive effect, make several varieties of latkes in different colors (sweet potato, zucchini, beets, etc.).