I've been searching for lighter meals lately, probably to counteract the stodgy winter food I'm partial to. The first step in reducing stodge for me is to cut out the amount of meat. This is harder than it sounds, due to having to cook for someone who loves their meat and complains that something "doesn't taste right" when it's meatless, then makes himself a massive ham and blue cheese sandwich for dessert.
A way to get around this habit is to i) complain loud and long, that "it's a bit rude when I've spent ages cooking this" *loud sigh*, and ii) make something that is so tasty and satisfying that any thought of cholesterol-laden sandwich desserts flies out the window.
These amazing leek fritters fit the bill on both counts. The recipe is from the equally amazing Yotam Ottolenghi, and they are fluffy like pancakes but with a spicy hit from the chilli and rich flavour from the cumin, turmeric and cinnamon. The best thing was the question "Mmm, are there any more?" after the first bite.
2 medium leeks, trimmed and washed
4 green onions, finely chopped
100ml olive oil
1 long red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, separated
1 whole egg
100g plain flour
1 tblsp baking powder
30g unsalted butter, melted
1. Cut leeks into 2cm (1in) thick slices. Saute the green onions and leeks in a pan with half the oil on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until soft. Transfer to a large bowl and add the chilli, parsley, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, sugar and salt. Allow to cool.
2. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and fold it into the vegetables.
3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, remaining egg yolk, whole egg, milk and butter to for a batter. Gently mix it into the egg white and vegetable mixture.
4. Put 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium heat. Spoon about half of the vegetable mixture into the pan to make 4 large fritters. Fry them for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel and keep warm. Add more oil to the pan, if needed, and repeat with the remaining batter. This amount should make about 8 fritters.
5. Serve warm with a squeeze of lemon or a sauce made by mixing Greek yoghurt, parsley and garlic.
recipe adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
Ingredients, including leeks, green onions, spices (cinnamon, turmeric and cumin), eggs, red chilli and flour + baking powder
The leeks are cooked till soft, then mixed with whipped egg whites before being incorporated with the flour and milk to form a batter. The fritters may look sloppy, but they firm up beautifully as they cook (keep an eye on the underside to ensure they don't brown too much)
Serve the fritters with a dollop of yoghurt and parsley sauce.
These fritters are light as air, and very easy to eat!