The great thing about Hanukkah is that, if you're a procrastinator like me, getting 8 nights to pull off a holiday meal is a true gift. Maybe that itself is the miracle of Hanukkah.
Growing up Jewish, it was all about the menorah and the presents. Now, I'm just here for the latkes. And since the days when I was making Boat Sauce in jars in my own kitchen, Hanukkah is all about latkes, sour cream, and Bobbie's Boat Sauce.
A couple of years ago, I decided to double down on the experience, and cooked up some short ribs in the style of my brisket recipe, and constructed a latke sandwich with said ribs, Bobbie's, and horseradish sour cream. As you could guess, it was incredible, and I set out to do the same for this year. But when my market wasn't carrying short ribs, I simultaneously realized that I actually didn't feel like cooking a day ahead (braised beef always benefits from an overnight rest).
Instead, and inspired by a reuben-style latke sandwich I saw over the internet, I picked up some house-cured pastrami from Otto's Sausage Kitchen. At Providore, I picked up some decadent sablefish salad. That night, I threw together my own, bastardized version of a Jewish appetizing meal, subbing hot latkes for bagels, and other bits and bobs from the fridge.
I'm sure these words will not hold, but I see no reason to eat latkes or pastrami any other way again. The cold, smoked meat paired with the hot latke, the Boat Sauce slicing through the sour cream, and the Grillo's dill pickle slice on top was, as the influencers say, everything. I also realized that a latke sandwich is for tourists. It's all about the proportions, and you only need one latke to get the perfect balance of flavors, textures, and temperatures.
There were a few things missing from the table, but I already have next year's menu and shopping list ready to go:
Ingredients for an Appetizing Hanukkah:
Your favorite latke recipe. Here's mine!
Bobbie's Boat Sauce
Smoked or cured fish
Chopped chicken liver