Serious Eats: Recipes

Keftes De Prasa, the Sephardic-Style Leek Fritters

Serious Eater Michael Natkin of the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious drops by every Wednesday to share a delicious recipe to expand our vegetarian repertoire.

[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

Keftes de prasa are de rigeur at most holiday celebrations on the Sephardic side of my family. Rosh Hashanah, Passover, Hannukah--it doesn't matter. Any excuse is good enough reason to enjoy these simple leek fritters. Not much more than leeks, eggs, and breadcrumbs, they are deceptively delicious and addictive. Almost like latkes but with leeks instead of potatoes.

Like latkes, they are great fun at a celebration, but after sitting out for too long, they lose that perfect crispness that makes fried food really special. If you make them for a small group and serve them fresh from the pan, I guarantee your guests will be begging for a return invitation.

In this recipe, I've actually synthesized a couple different traditions. In my family, the leeks are boiled. I found a very similar Syrian-Jewish recipe for Ejjeh b'Kerrateh in the superb Aromas of Aleppo by Poopa Dweck, where she sautees the leeks, producing a stronger, better oniony flavor. The Syrian version also adds subtle flavors of allspice, cinnamon, and hot pepper, which I've listed as optional ingredients. I like them, but my wife found them distracting. On the other hand, the Syrian version doesn't use any breadcrumbs, which I think are an important textural element.

If you are nice, maybe someday I'll tell you about serving keftes de prasa in a sandwich, like falafel. (By the way, you may find keftes called kyeftes, keftedes, or kifticas. Our family pronounces them koof-teek-az.)

Keftes De Prasa (Leek Fritters)

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