Leek Fritters

Keftes de Prasa

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about 16 fritters; serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean

Sephardic Flavors

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 2000

  • About

Both Gilda Angel and Méri Badi suggest serving leek fritters for Rosh Hashanah. Matzoh meal in the recipe makes them a good choice for Passover as well. And, of course, because they are fried they would be ideal for Hanukkah. The mixture of leeks, bread, and eggs also can be baked as a gratin. This baked version, called prasifutchi, can be thickened with potatoes instead of bread or matzoh.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds leeks (12 small, 8 medium, or 4 very large)
  • 4 matzohs or slices rustic bread
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • matzoh meal, as needed
  • olive or vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • lemon wedges

Method

Cut away the roots and most of the green part from the leeks and discard. Peel away any loose layers, cut the leeks in half lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into ½ -inch-wide pieces. Soak them in a sink full of cold water, swish them around to loosen any dirt, remove with a slotted spoon, and drain well in a colander. You will have about 6 cups chopped leeks. Put them in a saucepan with lightly salted water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the leeks are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and squeeze out any excess moisture. You will have about 2 cups cooked leeks. Soak the matzohs or bread slices (remove the crusts) in water and squeeze dry.

In a large bowl, combine the leeks, soaked matzoh or bread, eggs, teaspoons salt, pepper, and the nuts, if using. Mix well and, if the mixture seems too moist, add matzoh meal until it holds together. You may then need a bit more salt. Form the mixture into patties about 2 inches in diameter and ½ to ¾ inch thick.

Pour oil to a depth of about 1 inch into a large sauté pan and heat to 350 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer. Meanwhile, spread some matzoh meal on a plate and dip the patties in it, coating both sides and tapping off the excess.

When the oil is hot, add the patties, in batches, and fry, turning once, until golden on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Using a slotted spatula or tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Sprinkle with salt and serve piping hot with lemon wedges.

Variation

To make spinach fritters, use 3 pounds spinach, stems removed, wilted, drained, squeezed dry, and finely chopped, or 3 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry, for the leeks. If you like, add 1 onion, finely chopped and sautéed, with the eggs; it will impart a depth of flavor to the mixture. A little grated nutmeg will add a pleasant sweetness.