Wild salmon and latkes create stylish celebration

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This is one of a series of guest cooking columns j. runs during the holidays.

The freedom symbolized by Chanukah underlies chef Adrian Hoffman’s recipes this year. The center of the plate holds slow-baked wild Coho salmon. Cooking the salmon at a low temperature ensures tender, moist results. And, what’s not to like about beets and fresh horseradish?

Adrian’s latkes, which he calls, “the best,” will be on the menu throughout Chanukah at One Market in San Francisco. And I have to admit, they’re just about as good as the ones my mother, Harriett Dellar, used to make. The secret is baking the potatoes first, then adding sour cream to the mix along with the traditional eggs (yolks only), onion and crushed matzah. While cooking in oil symbolizes the Chanukah story, the use of clarified butter adds a recognizable boost of flavor.

Start the meal with a simple seasonal salad such as baby arugula, peeled and thinly sliced Fuyu persimmons, pomegranate seeds and crumbled artisan blue cheese with a white wine and extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette.

For both courses, a chardonnay with tropical notes such as one from Yarden of the Golan Heights fits nicely.

Dessert of an almond- or walnut tart would be grand.

“The Best” Potato Latkes | Serves 4

3 large Russet potatoes
1 small white onion
1/2 tsp. sea salt
pinch white pepper
4 oz. sour cream
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup crushed matzo
4 oz. clarified butter for frying

The night before, bake the potatoes. Put them in a 375-degree oven for about 1 hour, or until a knife comes out easily. Let them cool in refrigerator overnight.

Peel the skin from the potatoes, and grate coarsely on a box grater. In the same bowl, grate the onion. Add salt, pepper, sour cream, egg yolks and crushed matzah. Mix gently until all ingredients are incorporated.

Heat clarified butter over medium heat in a large nonstick pan. Add about 2 oz. of the mixture and pat into the shape of a patty. Fill pan, without latkes touching. Brown well on one side, then flip over and brown on the other side. Drain on paper towel.

Slow-cooked Wild Coho Salmon with Pureed Beet Vinaigrette | Serves 4

24 oz. wild Coho salmon fillet, boneless and skinless
2 Tbs. finely grated horseradish
1 lb. red beets
8 large cloves peeled garlic
3 sprigs thyme
kosher salt
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. hazelnut oil
1 recipe potato latkes
1 bunch young watercress, stems discarded
2 apples (a sweet but balanced variety like Fuji)

Place beets, thyme and garlic cloves in a pot and cover with water. Season liberally with salt (water should taste like seawater). Simmer until a knife inserted into the beet comes out easily. Let cool in water until warm to the touch. Using a dry paper towel, rub the skin off the beets. Cut into half-inch chunks, and put in blender with the cooked garlic cloves. Puree beet mixture until smooth, adding a bit of the cooking liquid if necessary. The puree should have the consistency of a thin pancake batter. Season with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour puree into a small saucepan, heat through, and whisk in hazelnut oil before serving.

Cut salmon fillets into four 6-oz. portions. Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking. Season salmon with salt, white pepper and freshly grated horseradish. Place on an ovenproof plate. Cover plate and salmon with plastic wrap, and put in a preheated 275-degree oven for 20 minutes or until warm throughout.

Ladle the sauce in a circle on the center of each plate. Place 2 potato latkes to the side. Lean the salmon on the latkes, garnish with watercress and freshly shaved apple.

Michael Dellar is co-founder and Adrian Hoffman is group chef of Lark Creek Restaurant Group, which includes One Market Restaurant, Yankee Pier and others in the Bay Area, Southern California and Las Vegas.

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