My latest library cookbook arrived just in time for the long weekend: Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty.” It’s an overwhelming array of mouth-watering vegetable dishes & gorgeous photography, but this dish stood out on my walk home from the library. I wanted a lazy, homebody weekend, which means at least a little bit of cooking; and since Dave was out of town for the weekend, it meant cooking with yogurt & cheese.
I’d actually planned on making ice cream for the first time this weekend, but realistically I’m only interested in carrying home so many groceries when it’s 10am and already feels like over 30 degrees. While milk & cream didn’t make the cut, yogurt & sour cream did. These leek fritters & accompanying cilantro sauce were going to be a part of my weekend.
The fritters themselves were just what my hungry self wanted, and would be a great way to make use of an abundance of leeks or to turn pantry ingredients into a hearty lunch, breakfast, or dinnertime side. Frying them made my apartment smell amazing. If your hangovers demand greasy eats, consider finding someone to make this for you as a brunch the morning after a big night out – it’s fried food on the one hand, and all wholesome ingredients on the other. Mmm.
That said, it’s the sauce, not the fritters, that’s my special favourite. Tart & tangy, it’s packed with flavour and comes together quickly. Since I had lots left over once the fritters were gone, I’ve been brainstorming alternate uses:
- sandwich spread
- potato salad dressing
- dipping sauce for french fried or veggies
- condiment for fajitas & tacos
- condiment for latkes, rosti or perogies
- sauce for grilled chicken or kabobs
- dollop on top of hearty soup, like lentil or potato-leek
Let me know if you think of other ideas, because (especially now that I’d got Greek yogurt & sour cream in my fridge), I’ll be making it again soon.
Notes: This recipe made 8 large fritters and the leftovers microwaved deliciously (though I suspect a toaster oven would be the better choice for retaining a crisp exterior.) To simplify your shopping, I bet the sauce could be done with plain yogurt instead of the Greek yogurt & sour cream – less rich but cheaper & healthier. And let’s say you know someone who can’t eat dairy at all but wants to get in on the fritters – Ottolenghi says the sauce can be omitted entirely and replaced by a squeeze of lemon or lime over each fritter. That means either fewer groceries and less prep time, or: more sauce for you.
Creamy Cilantro Sauce
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and combine until smooth.
3 leeks (~1lb when trimmed), sliced into 1-inch rounds
5 shallots, chopped
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 fresh red chile, sliced & seeds removed
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup milk
4 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1. Rinse the sliced leeks & drain, patting them dry.
2. Heat 1/3 cup of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and shallots, sauteing for 15-20 minutes or until soft and wilted. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chile, parsley, spices, sugar & salt. Set aside.
3. Remove the onions from heat and scrape them into the bowl with the parsley-spice mixture. Stir until combined and set aside to cool.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks begin to form. Pour it over the onion mixture and fold in. Set aside.
5. In a second medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, whole egg, milk & butter. Pour this batter over the onion mixture and fold in.
6. Add remaining 2 tbsp oil to the frying pan and return to medium heat. Use half of the batter to make four large fritters in the pan, and allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes before flipping them. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side. Each side should be crisp & coloured golden-verging-on-browned. When each fritter is done, remove it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off some of the oil. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding additional oil to the pan if required. Serve warm, accompanied by the preceding sauce.