Adeena Sussman's fricassee buns with tuna salad and trimmings (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Adeena Sussman's fricassee buns with tuna salad and trimmings (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Fried artichokes and fried buns fulfill your Hanukkah oil obligation

Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.

Two new cookbooks explore the global Jewish kitchen and feature fried dishes you can serve this Hanukkah: fried artichoke hearts and fried buns.

“Portico: Cooking and Feasting in Rome’s Jewish Kitchens” by Leah Koenig explores the history and foods of one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities. “Shabbat: Recipes and Rituals from My Table to Yours” by Adeena Sussman explores the multicultural Shabbat meal traditions in Israel and beyond. Both cookbooks feature essays, personal stories and photographs.

In Koenig’s book, the crisp, mild artichoke hearts — a riff on a more complex classic recipe — are hard to stop eating when served with herbed salt. In Sussman’s book, the fried buns that Tunisian Jews brought to Israel are very versatile. While traditionally stuffed with tuna, they are also good with egg salad, cooked eggplant slices and other fillings.

The recipes below were adapted for style and space.


Simpler Fried Artichoke Hearts with Herbed Salt

Serves 4-6

  • Herbed salt (see below)
  • 2 14-oz. cans water-packed whole artichoke hearts
  • Grapeseed, sunflower or similar oil

Prepare herbed salt. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Drain artichoke hearts, half lengthwise and place on towels. Cover with layer of towels and pat dry. Let sit covered for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Heat 1 inch of oil in medium pot over medium heat until oil reaches 350 degrees. Cover dry baking sheet with paper towels.

Put 4-5 artichoke hearts in oil. Fry, turning once, until deeply golden brown and crisp, 2-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with herbed salt. Serve hot.

Herbed Salt: Crumble ½ tsp. dried rosemary and ½ tsp. dried oregano leaves into a small bowl with ½ tsp. grated lemon zest and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Mix with fingertips.

Leah Koenig's Simpler Fried Artichoke Hearts with Herbed Salt (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Leah Koenig’s Simpler Fried Artichoke Hearts with Herbed Salt (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Fricassee Buns

Serves 6-8

  • 3½ cups plus 1 Tbs. flour
  • 1 Tbs. instant yeast (see note)
  • 1½ tsp. sugar
  • 2½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1¼ cups water
  • ⅓ cup oil grapeseed, sunflower or similar oil, plus more for frying

Fit an electric stand mixer with dough hook(s). In large bowl combine 3½ cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add water and ⅓  cup oil. Mix at low speed to combine. Raise speed to medium-low. Mix until dough pulls away from bowl sides and is smooth and not sticky, 5-6 minutes.

Remove dough. Lightly dust inside of bowl with remaining flour. Return dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put in a warm place until doubled, 30-40 minutes.

Uncover dough. Punch down to deflate. Fold dough over itself twice. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Divide into 20 equal balls. Press air out of dough. Roll each ball into 4×2-inch log.

Put buns on clean baking sheet and place in a loose, large plastic storage or garbage bag. Let rise 30 minutes.

Heat 1½ inches oil to 360 degrees over medium-high heat in wide pot. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Place 4-5 buns into oil and fry until golden, 1-2 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat. Split buns and fill.

Serving Suggestions: Sussman spreads rolls with harissa and preserved-lemon paste and fills them with slices of oil-poached tuna, hard-boiled eggs and boiled potatoes. Harissa, a North African hot sauce, and preserved-lemon paste (or the preserved lemons to make it) are available in kosher and Middle Eastern markets. Or you can make your own. To make Sussman’s paste, seed and chop 2 preserved lemons, then purée in high-speed blender or small food processor with 1 tsp. paprika and ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil.

I used olive-oil based tuna salad, potato, hard-boiled egg and the condiments, plus slices of red onion and tomato.

Note: Instant yeast comes in jars or in 2½ tsp. packets. Take additional ¾ tsp. as needed from another packet.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].