Following in the Maccabean folkloric tradition, radish salad makes for a delicious Hanukkah appetizer.
1 pound large fresh red radishes (about 2 dozen)
2 large scallions
2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat or extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 10 grinds)
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 firm brick of Pumpernickel bread or 3 whole-wheat pitas
1 head Bibb lettuce (optional)
Extra chicken fat for spreading on bread (optional)
Coarse sea salt for garnish
- Thinly slice the radishes by hand or using a thin slicing blade on a food processor.
- Trim off the very ends of the scallions. Slice the scallions lengthwise in half through the white part. Cut the scallions crosswise into thin slices, using all of the green part as well. You should have about 2⁄3 cup.
- Combine the radishes, scallions, chicken fat or olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar or honey in a medium bowl and toss gently. Refrigerate for half an hour to meld flavors.
- Meanwhile cut thin pumpernickel slices in half on the diagonal or cut 8 wedges from each pita. Lightly toast the breads so they are slightly crisp.
- When ready to serve, spread a little bit of additional chicken fat on the tops of the bread triangles, and place a small mound of radish salad on the tops of the toasts. Sprinkle the tops of each radish mound with a pinch of coarse sea salt, if desired. Alternatively, place a few lettuce leaves on a salad plate, and mound some of the radish salad on the lettuce. Place a few triangles of bread on the side, and serve.
- Red radishes tend to bleed their color when exposed to acidic foods for long periods of time. Either add vinegar an hour before serving or serve the same day as preparation.
- Spreading a thin layer of oil or fat on a bread base prevents the bread from getting soggy, especially when covered with a moist filling.
Looking for more holiday dishes to round out your menu? Find additional recipes for a festive Hanukkah.