Noshin’ Recipes: Hanukkah Menu

Almond-crusted pan-fried fishChances are, you’re going to want to eat — and possibly serve others — dinner at some point over the course of the eight-night celebration we call Hanukkah (spelling squabbles aside). You’ve got the latkes under control. Sufganiyot are easy baked or bought. And sure, you could make a meal out of those things (especially with some delectable toppings!).

But what if  you want something more substantial? Something involving protein, perhaps? Maybe some lovely greens to balance out the high quantities of fried goods you’ve been consuming? I offer you a Hanukkah menu that is just as nice for a quiet night at home just you and your roommate/friend/significant other as it is for party guests (multiplying, of course): a salad of greens, dried cherries, goat cheese, and a homemade cherry dressing; almond-crusted pan-fried fish; accompanied by the requisite latkes, challah, and dessert of sufganiyot or almond-citrus olive-oil cake.

Here’s your plan:

  1. Prep a day or more before (if more than a day, freeze the baked goods — just don’t forget to defrost!): challah and almond-citrus olive oil cake (the cake will actually taste better with some time to let the flavors mingle).
  2. Make the sufganiyot prior to guests arriving — they don’t need to be warm to be delicious, and plus, who doesn’t want to be greeted with jelly donuts?
  3. Grate the potatoes for the latkes and make the batter. Depending on when you’re eating, you can keep the mixture in the fridge until you’re ready to fry them. Alternatively, you can fry them ahead of time and warm them in the oven while prepping the salad and fish.
  4. Stuff that can be delegated to a guest: assemble the salads, make the cherry dressing (this is a particularly good job to give little ones who can shake it in a sealed container or jar).
  5. While the latkes are frying, prep and make the fish in another pan. (But don’t let the latkes burn! Keep your eye on them!)
  6. Serve altogether or as courses.

Cherry-Goat Cheese Salad
Makes 6-8+ servings
Dressing Ingredients:
1/8 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C cherry preserves
1/8 C white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar (but any white balsamic or apple cider vinegar will work)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/8 tsp each salt and pepper, or to taste

Salad Ingredients
Serves 4
4-6 C lettuce (one bag romaine or other crisp greens)
4-6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 C dried cherries (dried cranberries would also be good)


  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a cruet or a tightly-sealing jar (like a mason jar). Shake vigorously to combine.
  2. Assemble salad. Drizzle 1 Tbsp dressing on top. If you have extra almonds from the fish (below), toss those on too! Cherries love almonds!

Note: Dressing will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but it may solidify; let it come to room temperature and then shake before serving.

Almond-Crusted Pan-Fried Fish

Almond-crusted fish

Almond-crusted fish

3-4 oz white fish (cod, halibut, or anything other kind that you prefer) per person
2 eggs, beaten, or about 1/2 C liquid eggs from a carton (like Eggbeaters or Better’n Eggs)1/2 C bread crumbs (flour will work in a pinch; or you can make your own by toasting bread, then putting it in a coffee grinder or blender)
1/4 C sliced almonds, crushed into small pieces
1/4-1/2 tsp salt and pepper
pinch of ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 C canola oil


  1. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. On a plate or low bowl, add the eggs.
  3. In a second plate or low bowl, combine dry ingredients (bread crumbs through groudn red pepper).
  4. Place the fish one at a time in the egg bowl, flipping to coat. Move it to the dry mixture plate, again flipping to coat; pat the crumbs onto the fish to ensure even crusting.
  5. Place fish in heated oil.
  6. Repeat with remaining filets.
  7. Flip fish in pan when the crust is a nice golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes each side.
    Note: If your fish is more than about an inch thick, you may want to use slightly less oil and turn the heat down a little so you don’t burn the outside before cooking the inside, or you can try covering the pan to try to trap some of the heat.
  8. Chow down!