Aharoni’s Pan-Sephardic Leek Latkes
Chef Israel Aharoni’s updated version of this typical Sephardic leek patty is much more flavorful than the original Balkan leek fritter, traditionally served at both Hanukkah and Passover.
About16 large latkes or 50 small ones
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursehot appetizer, side dish
Dietary Considerationhot appetizer, side dish
Taste and Texturecrisp, nutty, savory, umami
- 6 leeks (about 2 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus ¼ cup for frying
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, diced
- 4 shallots, diced
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup grated Kashkeval or Parmesan cheese
- A few grinds of pepper
- ½ cup bread crumbs or matzoh meal, plus 1/3 cup for coating
Slice the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove the grit. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and leeks and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
Dice the white and some of the green of the leeks into small pieces, about ½ inch thick. Drain well, pressing the leeks in a dish towel to dry and remove any excesswater.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and add the onions, garlic, and shallots. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for a few minutes, until evenly browned.
Place the leeks, onions, garlic, shallots, pine nuts, cilantro, eggs, and cheese in a mixing bowl and blend well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add about ½ cup bread crumbs, or enough to bind the ingredients together.
Take about ¼ cup of the leek mixture and form a patty 2 inches in diameter. (For cocktail-size patties, use 1 heaping teaspoon of mixture. This will make a lctke about ¾ inch in diameter.) Coat each patty with bread crumbs and repeat until all the batter is used up.
Coat a nonstick frying pan evenly with some of the remaining olive oil and fry the patties a few at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.
2001 Joan Nathan