Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen is a blogger after my own heart, especially where fritters are concerned. A peek at my archives reveals no less than 10 fritter recipes, and three of them are from Smitten Kitchen: Indian-spiced vegetable fritters, zucchini-ham-ricotta fritters, and some tasty broccoli Parmesan fritters I haven’t posted about yet because the first time I made them, I scarfed them down before they could be photographed. So as soon as The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook came out and I snagged a copy at the library, I hoped a new fritter twist would be waiting inside, and I wasn’t disappointed. Leek fritters, no less! With lemony sauce!
A doesn’t especially love leeks, so I waited to make these until he was out of town. Blanching the leeks and squeezing them dry was a slight hassle, but no worse than shredding and squeezing zucchini, and everything else came together easily. I got slightly fewer fritters than promised—more like 6 than 10—but perhaps I just made mine larger than I was meant to; at any rate, it was a perfect meal for one person with a small salad on the side, and maybe a few left over for lunch the next day. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a leek fritter, but these were surprisingly unobtrusive. The blanched leeks melt into the rest of the batter, giving them a tender interior with the usual crisp frittery exterior, and the oniony flavor is quite delicate, which makes the tang of the creamy, garlicky, lemony sauce (I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream) a welcome contrast. And the springy green color is so lovely. I’m kicking myself for not trying these with a poached egg on top as the original recipe notes suggest, but that just gives me an excuse to make them again soon. It’s possible that A wouldn’t even hate them—but if he does, more for me!
On her blog, Perelman jokes that she may need a “frittervention,” but I hope she keeps the pan-fried-vegetable iterations coming. In the meantime, now that I’m cautiously tolerating cauliflower, I may need to try her cauliflower and feta fritter recipe.
2 pounds leeks (about 3 very large ones)
½ teaspoon table salt, plus more to taste
2 scallions, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
A few gratings of lemon zest
1 small garlic clove, minced
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While it heats, trim the leeks, leaving only the white and pale green parts. Halve them lengthwise and wash well under cold water. On a cutting board, slice crosswise into ¼-inch strips. When the water boils, add the leeks and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly softened but not limp. Drain and wring out in a dishtowel.
- Transfer the leeks to a large bowl and stir in the scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, ½ teaspoon salt, baking powder, and black pepper to taste. Stir the dry ingredients into the leek mixture, then stir in the egg until the mixture is evenly coated.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the leek mixture into the skillet and flatten with the back of a spatula. Cook until golden underneath, about 3 minutes. Flip fritters and cook for about 3 more minutes, or until the other side is browned. Drain fritters on paper towels and then transfer them to a cooling rack (or a 250-degree oven if you want to keep them warmer) while you repeat the process with the remaining leek mixture.
- While fritters cook, stir together yogurt, lemon juice and zest, garlic, and salt to taste in a small bowl. Serve atop the fritters.
Time: 30 minutes
Leftover potential: OK; cooked fritters can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and reheated in a dry skillet over medium heat (or, according to the original recipe, in a 325-degree oven). Perelman also says that they can also be frozen for months in a well-sealed package and reheated in the oven.