Monday, June 9, 2014

Ottolenghi Leek Fritters with Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce

Inspired by our recent diner at NOPI, Yotam Ottolenghi's fine dining Soho brasserie in London, I felt compelled to try and recreate some of the haunting flavours and textures we experienced that evening and delved into my copy of his cookbook 'Plenty'. One of the dishes that caught my eye was his Leek Fritters with Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce, which was similar to the Courgette and Manouri Fritters we enjoyed the night we dined at his restaurant. Wonderfully simple to prepare, these elegant and delicious fritters are fabulous on their own as an appetizer, but also make a heavenly addition to any summer feast.  

Yotam Ottolenghi's 'Plenty' which features a delectable array of outstanding vegetarian dishes

Chopped leeks and shallots are sautéed in olive oil for 15 minutes until soft, then transferred to a bowl with chopped red chilli, parsley, spices, sugar and salt

One whisked egg white is then added to the vegetable mixture

Flour, baking powder, egg, milk and melted butter are combined to form a batter

The batter is then stirred into the vegetable mixture

Fried in a little olive oil until the fritters are lightly golden brown on both sides, 
a half portion of the recipe made ten 2 1/2-inch fritters

A vibrant and fragrant sauce made with yogurt, sour cream, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and cilantro

Leek Fritters
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Yotam Ottolenghi's 'Plenty' Cookbook

For the 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 finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 cups finely chopped coriander leaves

For the fritters:
3 leeks
5 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2/3 cup olive oil
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and sliced
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg white
3/4 all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 large egg
2/3 cup milk
4 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Start by making the sauce. Put all the sauce ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, blitz together until a uniform green, then set to one side.

Cut the leeks into 3/4-inch thick rounds, rinse and dry. Over medium heat, sauté the leeks and shallots in a pan with five tablespoons of oil until soft, about 15 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and add the chilli, parsley, spices, sugar and salt. Leave to cool.

Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and fold it into the vegetables. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, egg, milk and butter to form a batter. Gently mix this into the egg white and vegetable mixture.

Put two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Spoon the mixture into the pan to make four large fritters, and fry for two to three minutes a side, until golden and crisp. Transfer to kitchen towel and repeat, adding oil as needed, until the mixture is used up. Serve warm with the sauce on the side or drizzled over. I garnished the fritters with some chopped fresh chives and chive flower for show.