Eating foods fried in oil is one of the main Hanukkah traditions as it commemorates the miracle of the Hanukkah oil, and it's delicious. The recent latke revolution has taken this tradition from its humble beginnings frying the classic potato pancake to latkes made from any vegetable that shreds such as carrot, parsnip, and beet.

This recipe takes that revolution one step further by frying cakes of polenta, cornmeal used in Italian cooking. Kids will love using cookie cutters in the cooled polenta to make fun shapes, and topping them with flavors of their choice!

Crispy Polenta Latkes


  • 4 cups water, chicken broth, or milk

  • 1 cup medium or fine cornmeal

  • 3 or more teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, flat leaf parsley, tarragon, etc.)

  • Olive oil

  • Toppings: grated Parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, mascarpone cheese, roasted peppers, pesto


1. Heavily coat the bottom and sides of a 9- x 9-inch casserole dish with extra-virgin olive oil.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir water (or milk or broth), cornmeal, salt, and pepper until mixture is simmering. Continue stirring occasionally until polenta is soft and starchy, about 20 minutes.

3. Continue cooking until very thick and polenta grains are no longer separate, but the mixture is a thick mass, about another 10 minutes.

4. Add herbs and stir to combine. Pour polenta into prepared pan and press down on the surface with a piece of parchment paper (careful, the mixture is very HOT!) to flatten the surface and press out any air bubbles.

5. Allow the polenta to cool completely.

6. Heat a large sauté pan, lightly coated with olive oil, over medium heat. Cut polenta into desired size cakes using a sharp knife or cookie cutters. Brown the cakes in preheated pan until golden and crispy on each side.

7. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Serves 10, as an hors d'oeuvre.

Adapted from Jamie Geller, Joy of Kosher

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