Born out of Giora Shimoni's "experimenting with a variety of different vegetables for Hanukkah latkes" this recipe for Leek Latkes won his wife's "first prize" endorsement. Because they don't contain potatoes, you won't need to haul out the food processor or risk slicing your knuckles on a box grater. And since they're bound with whole wheat flour, they're richer in fiber and lower in carbohydrates than Traditional Potato Latkes.
Recipe Testing Notes and Tips:
- The original recipe called for regular whole wheat flour; we tested it with white whole wheat flour, which is equally nutritious, but has a more delicate flavor.
- The original recipe called for slicing the leeks into 1/4-inch rounds, however it is tough to clean leeks properly without first splitting them lengthwise. (Cut them in half if they're slender, or quarter them if large.) Slicing them lengthwise first also means you'll end up with small crosswise cuts, which will distribute through the batter more evenly.
- Because the flavor of these leek latkes is reminiscent of Scallion Pancakes, they pair well with tamari-based dipping sauces; I've included an optional recipe for one below. Sour cream or the Moroccan tomato-pepper dip known as Matbucha would also make good accompaniments.
- The the original recipe yield was 14 to 16 latkes; we got closer to 24. Keep in mind that the yield will ultimately depend on the size of your leeks, and how large you make your latkes.
- As for size, Shimoni points out that you shouldn't "make the pancakes [so] large that they fall apart when flipped over." These tips, from selecting a pan, choosing the right oil, and regulating your frying temperature, will help you turn out great latkes, too.
- For the Leek Latkes:
- 4 large leeks, halved or quartered lengthwise, and chopped crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour OR matzoh meal
- 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon basil (optional)
- Oil, for frying
- For the Tamari Dipping Sauce (optional):
- 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
To make the latkes: Preheat the oven to 200° F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Line a platter or wire rack with paper towels and set aside.
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Add the chopped leeks. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or just until the leeks are tender and bright green.
Drain the leeks in a colander, and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process.
Place the leeks in a large mixing bowl. Add the beaten eggs. Sprinkle evenly with the flour or matzoh meal. Season with salt, pepper, and basil, and mix well.
Over medium-high heat, warm a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop in the batter by tablespoonfuls, taking care not to crowd the pan. Flatten the pancakes a bit so they are not too thick to cook well in the middle. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until the latkes are browned on both sides and firm in the middle. Carefully transfer the latkes from frying pan to the paper towels to drain of extra oil, then place on the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest of the latkes.
To make the optional dipping sauce: in a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Serve the latkes with the dipping sauce, or with your favorite toppings.