Beloved television star Andrew Zimmern grew up watching his grandmother prepare Hanukkah dishes in her tiny New York City kitchen. The James Beard Award-winning writer, personality and chef has adapted a trio of his favorites for us; find them here. Below, we explain what makes his homemade gravlax, latkes, and sufganiyot (doughnuts) so marvelous.
The traditional Swedish cured salmon preparation tends to make ruby-hued cameos this time of year, and we’re grateful for that. Zimmern’s gravlax eschews the difficult weighing process you’ll spy in some recipes in favor of an easy salt-and-sugar spice rub.
Cumin seeds, white peppercorns, dill, parsley, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and aquavit mingle in a rub you press all over a center-cut salmon fillet. Let it sit for a few days, remove the spices, and you’ve got the very best accompaniment for cream cheese, latkes and bagels.
A mix of Yukon golds and Russets are key to the texture and deliciousness of these latkes. (They’re so good, says Zimmern, that just sharing them with readers is a mitzvah, or blessing.) These are little latkes, about two tablespoons apiece in size, so it’s extra fun layering them with crème fraîche, dill and gravlax. Want to amp up the celebratory factor? Add salmon roe!
Frying is a big part of Hanukkah, as it connotes the small amount of oil that miraculously kept the menorah in the Temple of Jerusalem alight for eight days. So in addition to latkes, sufganiyot might make a cameo on your holiday table.
Their name is Hebrew for “doughnuts,” and they’re fantastic. You’ll typically spy bakeries frying sufganiyot in the weeks leading up to and following the holiday. Zimmern’s are particularly tasty thanks to an Armagnac-spiked dough and a bath in cinnamon and sugar. They’re a sweet way to round out a sweet holiday.