Tart and tangy tastes are the perfect pairing for rich fried latkes

Latkes are always the stars at every American Chanukah event. But what about the accompaniments? These are the true stars that make the meal really shine each year.

Given the starchy richness of hot fried potatoes, contrasts seem to liven and highlight the meal. I like to pair latkes with a crunchy, spicy salsa and perhaps tangy, acidic chutney. A clean and refreshing Asian salmon tartare also provides contrast and balance to the latkes.

As for vegetables, I love the traditional winter vegetables, despite their bad reputation. A red cabbage salad benefits from tart apples and earthy spices.

Cranberry Orange Chutney

Makes about 3 cups

11⁄2 cups cranberries

1⁄2 cup orange juice

11⁄2 cups orange marmalade

1 small cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

Place the cranberries, orange juice, marmalade, cinnamon stick and cloves in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, and allow to simmer for several minutes, until the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. Cool thoroughly, remove the cinnamon stick and cloves, and serve with latkes.

Avocado and Pineapple Salsa

Makes about 3 cups

zest of 1 lime

zest of 1 orange

1⁄4 cup lime juice

1⁄4 cup orange juice

11⁄2 cups finely chopped pineapple

1⁄4 cup finely chopped red onion

1⁄4 cup finely chopped cilantro

1⁄2 small jalapeno, finely chopped

1 large, ripe avocado, cut into small dice

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

Mix together all ingredients. Allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving.

Asian Salmon Tartare

Serves 6

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. wasabi powder

6 oz. smoked salmon, chopped

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

4 green onions, finely chopped

1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds

1 Tbs. freshly grated ginger

1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil

1 tsp. soy sauce

Mix together the lemon juice and wasabi in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Serve the tartar on rice or sesame crackers.

Warm Cabbage and Apple Salad

Serves 8

4 Tbs. unsalted butter

4 cups shredded green apples, peeled or not

1⁄2 small red onion, shredded

8 cups shredded red cabbage

1⁄4 cup brown sugar

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. fine sea salt

1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground allspice

1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground cloves

1⁄2 cup red wine

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the apples and the onions and sauté until they become soft, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook until the cabbage starts to wilt. Add the sugar, vinegar, sea salt and spices. Cover and cook over low heat until the cabbage begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Uncover and add the red wine. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Serve warm.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a certified culinary professional. Visit her Web site at www.GoRebecca.com. She can be reached at [email protected].