Herbed Spinach Latkes with Feta-Yogurt Sauce

Packed with fresh herbs, these little fritters bring a beguiling whiff of springtime to wintry Hanukkah celebrations. The latkes make wonderful cocktail fare, or prepare slightly larger ones and pair with soup and a big salad for a light dinner, or fish, for a more substantial meal. The versatile piquant sauce, a variation of one I partner with mamaliga, brings sparkle to raw and cooked vegetables, lentils, and mixed green salads.


  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, well washed, tough stems discarded, or two 10-ounce packages frozen leaf spinach, thawed
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for frying
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 8), white and pale green parts only
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cup packed fresh challah or other egg bread (crusts removed), torn in pieces
  • ½ cup snipped fresh dill leaves
  • ½ cup packed chopped fresh mint leaves
  • cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • Mild olive, canola, or avocado oil, for frying
  • Feta-Yogurt Sauce


If you are using fresh spinach, cook it in a large saucepan with ¼ cup lightly salted water until tender. Cool, place in a colander, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. If you are using frozen spinach, squeeze the thawed spinach dry. You’ll be able to press out the most liquid if you do this with your hands.

In a heavy medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic and sauté until scallions are softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach, and sauté about 3 minutes, until all liquid is evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then cool completely.

Process the challah in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add the spinach mixture, dill, mint, and cilantro, if using; pulse, using on/off turns, until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Taste, adding more salt and pepper, if necessary. Mix in the eggs and baking powder.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Working in batches, drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into the skillet, using the back of a spoon to flatten the latkes slightly. Fry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Avoid turning more than once. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the latkes to paper towels to drain.

Fry the remaining latkes in the same way, adding more butter and oil to the skillet as necessary, and allowing the fat to get hot before adding more batter.

Serve with Feta-Yogurt Sauce.