Hanukkah commemorates the story of the Maccabees, a small Judean army that recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem from the ancient Greeks. According to the story, the Maccabees were able to find only enough oil to light the Temple’s menorah for one night, but the oil miraculously lasted for eight days. In honor of that “miracle of oil,” Jewish communities celebrate Hanukkah by eating all manner of fried foods. Potato latkes and jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot are the most widely known of these dishes in America. But in Italy, the focus is decidedly on pollo fritto— crunchy, oil-kissed fried chicken. This version of pollo fritto quick-marinates the chicken pieces with a mix of lemon, garlic, cinnamon, and thyme for an added dimension of flavor. Serve the fried chicken with extra lemon wedges for squeezing or with your favorite dipping sauce.
Reprinted from Little Book of Jewish Feasts by Leah Koenig with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018. Photo by Linda Pugliese.