Latke Platter with Gin-Cured Salmon and Spreads

Latke Platter with Gin-Cured Salmon
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I really struggled to arrive at a title for this particular recipe. Mostly because this isn’t really a single recipe. It’s actually five, which admittedly is a little over-the-top. But I am nothing if I am not that, so really this Latke Platter is very on-brand for me. This platter features a lot more than just latkes. There is Beet Horseradish Hummus, Dill Labneh, Gin-Cured Salmon, and Vanilla Bean Applesauce. Yes, there was absolutely no way in any universe that I was going to pack all of that into a clean title. But hey, grazing boards are by nature difficult to cleanly explain or sum up. The format is all about variety after all. Clearly, there’s a lot to cover here, so let’s get to it.

Side of salmon covered in gin and salt/sugar cure.

Now, any post like this has a lot of moving parts. But the nice thing about this latke platter, is none of them are particularly difficult to pull off. And some can be or have to be made ahead of time. When I put this board together, the only thing I made the day of was the latkes. I tackled everything else well in advance. See? It all comes down to timing.

Peeling the apples for the applesauce

Elaborate meals are completely attainable if you dedicate an hour here and there over the course of a few days. Dinner party panic only strikes when you’ve either left everything to the day of or you selected a menu that has time-sensitive serving parameters. If everything on your multi-course menu is optimal when hot and fresh, you’ve got a potential nightmare on your hands. Only speaking from the experience of many crushing failures. This latke platter is not that. I promise you.

Beet Horseradish Hummus

Everything starts a minimum of two days in advance with the Gin-Cured Salmon. The salmon needs anywhere from 24-48 hours in its brine in order to cure, so if you leave it to the last minute, you will be serving sashimi – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Curing salmon is surprisingly simple, it requires some light stirring and pressing and that’s it. Most of the magic happens without you, so you can really just go about your life.

Dill Labneh prior to draining
Draining the Dill Labneh

Next, let’s talk about the spreads. These can happen on whatever timeline you like. The Vanilla Bean applesauce should have some time to chill. And if you’re working with dried chickpeas for the hummus, which I do recommend, you have to give them time to soak and then cook. But the labneh can be made the day of. It does require 3 hours of hang time. I don’t like to let my labneh drain for much longer than that because I find it gets a little too thick for my taste.

Cutting the Gin-Cured Salmon into paper thin slices

I opted to make all the sauces on the same day because I had the time and I knew they would all do well in the fridge. You don’t have to go this route. You could make any or all of them the day before. Or you could start picking them off one by one starting a full week ahead of time. Each sauce has a minimum of a one-week shelf-life and does not suffer from fridge time. Another fun thing to note is the Gin-Cured Salmon can be cured, sliced, and stored for up to three weeks. So you could be really overzealous about your planning, and get everything going weeks before the main event.

Draining the potatoes to make latkes

Now, obviously, this platter has a certain seasonality. And I do realize Hanukkah 2021 is on its last leg. But the latkes are really the only holiday-specific component of this platter. You could easily swap the latkes for bagels and serve this for brunch. Or add a few kinds of cheese and a pile of crackers and serve it at a cocktail party. There are five recipes here and four of them aren’t tied to any specific time of year. And incidentally, the latkes are the most time-consuming component of this platter. So without them, you have a pretty impressive spread that asks very little of you.

Adding the Beet Horseradish Hummus to the Latke Platter

And speaking of latkes, these are best made the day of. But even that is negotiable. I have had success with frying latkes, freezing them, and baking them in a 375 F oven the day of. This method doesn’t rob them of their crispiness. And that way you’re not tethered to the frying pan while your guests are having the time of their lives. Another option is to fry the latkes before everyone arrives and keep them in a low oven until you’re ready to serve. Both are valid options. Latkes aren’t difficult to make, they just require a lot of fry time. But if you are insistent on hot and fresh latkes, enlist the help of your dinner guests. Nothing like an interactive dinner party experience.

Latke Platter with Gin-Cured Salmon, Vanilla Bean Applesauce, Dill Labneh, and Beet Horseradish Hummus

So that’s everything you need to know about this Latke Platter with Gin-Cured Salmon. This platter may seem seasonal and holiday-specific at first blush. But if you take a closer look, you’ll find that it’s entertaining potential is endless.

Enjoy! And Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating!

Latke Platter with Gin-Cured Salmon

Latke Platter with Gin-Cured Salmon

This Latke Platter features crisp, golden latkes, Beet Horseradish Hummus, Vanilla Bean Applesauce, Dill Labneh, and Gin-Cured Salmon.
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Curing Time 2 d
Course Main Course
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Two small casserole dishes
  • Large skillet
  • Food Processor

Ingredients
  

Gin-Cured Salmon

  • 30g (1oz) fennel seeds
  • 90g (3oz) light brown sugar
  • 65g (2oz) granulated sugar
  • 85g (3oz) kosher salt
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 side salmon
  • 2 tbsp gin
  • 4-5 sprigs Fresh dill for sprinkling

Beet Horseradish Hummus

  • ½ cup dried chickpeas
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 125g (4.5oz) pickled beets
  • 3 tbsp prepared horseradish heaping
  • 2 tbsp tahini heaping
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Vanilla Bean Applesauce

  • 4 McIntosh Apples peeled and cored
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

Dill Labneh

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt 5% milk fat
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Latkes

  • 2 large russet potatoes scrubbed, shredded
  • 1 yellow onion peeled, shredded
  • ½ cup matzo meal
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • neutral oil for frying

Instructions
 

For the Salmon

  • Pour the fennel seeds into a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the spices until fragrant, shaking the pan frequently. This should take 2-3 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a bowl and set them aside.
    30g (1oz) fennel seeds
  • In a large bowl place the salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Add the fennel seeds and the zest of one lemon.  Stir to combine.
    90g (3oz) light brown sugar, 65g (2oz) granulated sugar, 85g (3oz) kosher salt, 1 lemon
  • Spoon half of the salt and sugar mixture into a small casserole dish and place the salmon on top. Sprinkle the surface of the fish with the gin and cover with the remaining salt and sugar mixture. Make sure every inch of the salmon is covered. 
    1 side salmon, 2 tbsp gin
  • Top the salmon with dill sprigs and cover with plastic wrap. Place another small casserole dish on top of the salmon and add a couple of cans of beans to act as weights. Transfer to the fridge and let cure for 24-48 hours or until the salmon is firm to the touch. 
    4-5 sprigs Fresh dill
  • Thoroughly rinse the salmon in cold water and pat dry. Cut into paper-thin pieces and transfer to a plate. Chill until ready to serve. The salmon will keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. 

For the Hummus

  • Pour the chickpeas into a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave the chickpeas to soak for 8 hours.
    ½ cup dried chickpeas
  • Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a small saucepan. Cover the chickpeas with one inch of cold water. Bring to a boil and add the baking soda. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the chickpeas and set them aside to cool slightly.
    ½ tsp baking soda
  • Place the chickpeas in a large food processor and add the garlic, pickled beets, horseradish, tahini, and salt. Turn the food processor onto high and slowly stream in the lemon juice and the sesame oil. Blitz until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and chill until ready to serve. The hummus will last up to a week in the fridge. 
    2 cloves garlic, 125g (4.5oz) pickled beets, 3 tbsp prepared horseradish, 2 tbsp tahini, ¾ tsp salt, 1 lemon, 2 tsp sesame oil

For the Applesauce

  • Place the apples, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and, using the back of a knife, scrape out the caviar. Add the caviar and the pod to the pot. 
    4 McIntosh Apples, ¾ cup water, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 vanilla bean
  • Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple breaks down completely. About 20 minutes.
  • Take the applesauce off of the heat and let it cool to room temperature before transferring it to a resealable container and storing it in the fridge. The applesauce will keep for a week in the fridge. 

For the Labneh

  • In a bowl stir to combine the yogurt, dill, garlic, and salt.
    1 cup Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp fresh dill, 1 clove garlic, ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Line another bowl with cheesecloth and add the yogurt mixture to the bowl. Form a bundle and suspend that bundle from a kitchen faucet or a shelf. Leave the labneh to drain for a minimum of 1 hour. Three hours is best.
  • Unwrap the labneh and transfer it to a bowl. The labneh will keep in the fridge for one week. 

For the Latkes

  • Place the onion and potato in a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth suspended over a bowl. Form the cloth into a bundle and squeeze to remove any excess moisture. Really get your back into it. Leave the potato to drain in the strainer for 5 minutes.
    2 large russet potatoes, 1 yellow onion
  • Remove the strainer and discard the liquid that accumulated in the bowl. There should be a thin layer of potato starch at the bottom of the bowl, hold onto it. Place the onion and potato in the bowl and add the matzo meal, eggs, and salt. Using your hands, mix everything together until well integrated.
    ½ cup matzo meal, 3 large eggs, 2 tsp kosher salt
  • Heat 1-inch of oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture to the oil and fry on both sides until golden, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Try not to crowd the pan. Only cook 4-5 latkes at a time. 
    neutral oil
  • Transfer the golden latkes to a plate lined with a paper towel and keep warm in a low oven. Repeat until all the latkes are fried.

Notes

There are a lot of moving parts to this platter. I recommend tackling the sauces a day in advance and leaving only the latkes for the day of. 
Keyword applesauce, hummus, labneh, latkes, salmon

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