Throughout 2011 I kept hearing about Ottolenghi, perhaps first on Masterchef and then he just kept cropping up everywhere. People were raving about his books and his dishes. Whenever I read one of his recipes online I wanted to try it. Now, I’m not a vegetarian, and neither is he, but I’m quite happy not to eat meat, and without consciously trying to, I have a few meat-free days most weeks. What I like about Ottolenghi is that he loves making vegetables interesting and you don’t feel that anything is missing. So, I told my husband that I wanted Plenty for Christmas. I don’t think he was quite as enthusiastic as I was, especially as he called me from Waterstones saying, was I really sure I wanted Plenty? What about a rather nice book on Spanish food by I can’t remember who now or what about Ottolenghi’s other book that had some meat dishes in as well? Hmmm I didn’t think this was how Christmas presents were supposed to work. Anyway, I think he realised this too, as I did get it as part of my Christmas present. So, when Dom’s Random Recipe Challenge for January was to cook from a new book, this was the book I picked up. And of course, my lovely husband was even less delighted when the recipe I picked had leeks as the main ingredient. Well, I only needed two leeks, but if you’ve read my previous post about leek soup, you’ll know that I bought two bags by mistake. Anyway, as I write this, there is only one leek left in the fridge, so I think I’ve done pretty well. But, back to the fritters, they were very very good. I think whipping up the egg white before mixing it in helps to keep them light in texture. The sauce was also great, but is quite garlicy so it’s probably best to use a very small clove and not to make it before spending too much time with other people who haven’t had any. Despite the leeks, my lovely husband liked these too but he did compare them to onion bhajis and asked if I could make them just with onion next time.
I am of course sending this to Dom at Belleau Kitchen for Random Recipes. I am also sending it to Couscous and Consciousness for Cookbook Sundays.
Ingredients for Fritters – Makes about 6-8
2 leeks, sliced
1 onion, finely diced
1 chilli pepper, sliced
Handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
70g self-raising flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
30g unsalted butter, melted
50ml Greek yoghurt
50ml sour cream
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1.5 tbsp olive oil
Handful of coriander leaves (cilantro)
How to Make Leek Fritters
1. Make the sauce first. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor. Put in the fridge until needed.
2. Cook the leeks and onions in a little olive oil for about 15 minutes until soft. Take off the heat and put in a bowl. Add the chilli, herbs and spices.
3. With your hands separate most of the egg white from the egg. Whisk the egg white till it starts to form peaks and then gently mix it into the leeks.
4. In another bowl make a batter with the egg yolk, flour, baking powder, milk and melted butter. Then gently mix this into the leek mixture.
5. Heat some oil in a frying pan and when hot, add spoonfuls of the leek mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. In a large frying pan you’ll need to make this number of fritters in two batches. Serve with the sauce on the side.