Food Squad Recipes - Going Oil Crazy for Hanukkah: Latkes, Empanadas, Salmon Cakes, Baguette w/ Chocolate, Salt & Olive Oil +
The recipes below are from the Food Squad radio show/podcast from Dec 15, 2017. Check the podcast and more info here.
Babz's Pan-fried Salmon Cakes
12 to 14 ounces premium salmon (pouches or canned)*
1/4 cup chopped onion of choice
1/4 cup of green peppers
1/4 cup of red peppers (any color of peppers for nice colorful patties!)
1/2 cup of seasoned dry bread crumbs
A few shakes of Pink Himalayan salt
A dash of thyme
A dash of cumin
A dash of turmeric
Oil for pan frying (olive oil or coconut oil for a flavor boost)
* Babz prefers the pouches of salmon, there is less liquid and their easier to open! Also, if possible, buy wild salmon, fish raised on farms are often fed additives and sometimes antibiotics.
- Open and drain cans or pouches of salmon.
- Salt the salmon lightly and break it up with a fork.
- Mix in egg, onion, seasonings, and bread crumbs.
- Heat pan with oil of choice sometimes I like olive oil, sometimes coconut oil for a bigger flavor boost
- Form into patties. Put in pan brown on both sides. Put them on paper towel on a plate!
1 pound ground beef (Or 1- 15oz can of pinto beans rinsed and drained)
4 tablespoons sofrito*
1/2 cup (4 ounces) canned tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Spanish olives, Quartered
1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Healthy pinch of dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package empanada shells, thawed (I use Goya Discs on the fly; found in the freezer section)
Oil, for frying (vegetable, peanut, or my favorite: coconut)
- In a large frying pan, brown ground beef over medium heat. Add sofrito and fry for a few minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, olives, adobo, garlic powder and oregano mixed well until the ground beef is coated (salt to taste, but added salt is NOT required)
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Separate empanada shells.
- Fill half of disk with about 2 tablespoons of our beef filling, leave about a half-inch of space around the edge. Fold dough over filling and press the edges with a fork to ensure seal. Fry in hot oil a few at a time, about 3-4 minutes per side, or until crust is golden brown and bubbly
*Sofrito is a blend of onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs that is the flavor base of cuisines from Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, much of Latin America, Spain, Portugal and parts of Italy. There are many nuances of ingredients depending on which people are making it. You can often find fresh made, packaged sofrito in the refrigerated section in the produce departments of grocery stores with a lot of Latinx shoppers. Sofrito Ponce is a great brand that is made in New Haven, and sold at stores across the region. If you can't find it fresh, it's sometimes in the freezer section, and it's not hard to make at home, just find a recipe online.
Jason's Baguette w/ Chocolate, Salt & Olive Oil
This is a go to dessert for me when in a pinch and works even better when the bread is a day old stale and hard.
1 baguette (day old is fine)
10-14 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate
Spanish Olive Oil
Sea Salt (you can use kosher salt if needed but not table salt)
- Slice Baguette lengthwise in half.
- Pop into a hot oven, doesn't matter how hot, just get it lightly toasted.
- Immediately... once you see the bread is lightly golden brown on the edges put your favorite dark chocolate on top of it and pop back into the oven for another min. Don't melt the chocolate, just get it relaxed.
- Pull out the bread and using a knife spread the softened chocolate over the bread.
- Top with your favorite Extra Virgin Olive oil, I like something Spanish usually for this, and plenty of sea salt, don't use table salt!
- Cut into pieces and serve immediately only to people you really love.
Jason's Greens Lemon Juice & Olive Oil
This is my daily salad and should also included but doesn't have to always include some type of cheese! A small format slightly aged goat cheese is great but so is a grated hard Pecorino or even a nice feta (marinated in olive oil & herbs..) This is a great lunch, brunch or dinner that takes 2 mins to make!
2 big handfuls of greens (about half a head or 4oz of salad mix)
Good Olive Oil (Check out The Food Squad Goes Oil Crazy for more info)
Fresh cracked or ground pepper
Cheese of your choice (optional)
- In a large bowl place your greens (arugula, mustard greens, romaine, butter lettuce, endive or a mix of all of them....hell Iceberg works too!)
- Pour olive oil around the bowls rim in a circle one time, add fresh lemon juice, not too much, two handfuls of greens = 1/2 of a lemon at most
- Sea Salt and Fresh cracked Pepper as you like
- Now wash your hands and very lightly toss the greens to coat them. Added too much EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and Lemon? Just add more undressed greens and make it right....
- Serve with the cheese on top and some crusty bread.
Tagan's Ultimate Latke Recipe
3 large sweet potatoes
5 large yukon gold or white russet potatoes
2 large onions (or 3 medium)
1 1/2 cups flour (more if needed) - or a starch of your choice for gluten free (corn, arrowroot etc)
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying*
Wash potatoes, and cut out any eyes or tough spots in the skin. Shred potatoes, skin on, with a food processor or a box grater.
Rinse the potatoes in cold water and drain 3 or 4 times until the water is clear and the starch is removed from the outside of the potatoes. Drain well, squeezing out any excess water.
Peel and slice the onions into quarters. Place the onions in a food processor and blend until they are well chopped. Add the eggs and flour and puree until smooth. Alternately, you can shred the onions and squeeze out the water, then mix with the flour and eggs.
Add the onion mixture to the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss until the potatoes are well coated. The potatoes should have a thin coating of the onion/egg mixture. You can add a little more flour to the batter if it seems like it needs more binding. If you want to make gluten free latkes, corn starch can be substituted for the flour and makes a very crispy latkes. Place the batter in a colander set over a large bowl, so that the water that starts to seep from the potatoes (from the salt in the batter) is removed. Note: if your batter starts to seem too dry, you can mix a little of this liquid back in.
In a heavy frying pan, over medium high, add about 1/2inch of oil until a small amount of batter dropped in it sizzles as soon as it is dropped in. Using tongs or a large spoon, place small mounds of batter around the frying pan and gently press them down to make the tops flat. The oil should be sizzling very fast around the edges. When the bottoms are well browned, turn latkes over and cook a few minutes more until they are olden brown. The oil must be very hot so that they cook quickly and do not absorb the grease. If your latkes are soggy and greasy, your oil is not hot enough. Taste test your first latkes and adjust seasoning.
Remove latkes and place them on a rack to cool in a single layer. This is key as they are not sitting in the grease, so do not get soggy. Once they have cooled, you can lean them up against each other as shown in the picture below. You can reheat latkes while they are stacked like this. The heat circulates well around them, and since they are not lying flat, none of them are absorbing oil from the bottom of the pan. To re-heat latkes, place them in a preheated 400 degree oven until hot.
*Note on Oil for Frying: I have been using safflower or sunflower oil, or other non-GMO (genetically modified oil) that doesn't burn at high temperatures. Canola, corn and soy, if they are not labeled otherwise are likely to be GMO oils.