Cauliflower Latkes with Za'atar Aioli
The tiniest latkes on the menu, these are flavored with creamy cauliflower and spicy Aleppo pepper (a Syrian seasoning). Serve them with the aioli or just sprinkle them with za 'atar.
- 7-1/2 cups 1-to l-1/2-inch cauliflower florets (from 2 medium heads)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fine dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
- I-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 large eggs
- Olive oil (not extra-virgin) for frying
- Za'atar Aioli (optional; see recipe)
Cook cauliflower in a large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
Add garlic and half of cauliflower to processor; blend until smooth. Add remaining cauliflower, parsley, and dill. Pulse until cauliflower is chopped and mixture is still slightly chunky. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in breadcrumbs, baking powder, salt, Aleppo/cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
Beat 2 eggs in small bowl; mix into batter. If batter is dry, beat remaining 1 egg in same bowl to blend and mix into batter by tablespoonfuls until moist but not runny batter forms, DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Add enough oil to heavy large skillet to coat bottom generously; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop 1 tablespoonful batter for each latke into skillet; flatten to l-1/2-inch round. Cook until golden, adding oil as needed and adjusting heat if browning quickly, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to rimmed baking sheets, DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake latkes uncovered until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve latkes with aioli, if desired, or sprinkle with za'atar and serve.
ZAATAR AIOLI (makes about 1-1/2 cups)
Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix that includes sesame seeds, sumac, dried thyme, and dried marjoram. It's available at specialty foods stores and Middle Eastern markets and from adrianascaravan.com.
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup za'atar
With machine running, drop garlic through feed tube of processor and chop finely. Add mayonnaise and lemon juice. With machine running, drizzle in oil in thin stream, blending until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Whisk in za'atar and season with salt and pepper.
Let stand at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop, DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.