Leek Fritters with Lemon Cream Sauce

Leek Fritters with Lemon Cream Sauce
For the fritters
  1. 2 lbs leeks, pale green & white parts only (or use 1 lb. leeks and 1 lb. cooked vegetables like carrots, potatoes, summer squash, beets, zucchini)
  2. salt
  3. 2 scallions, trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  4. ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1 t. baking powder
  6. freshly ground black pepper
  7. pinch cayenne
  8. 1 egg
  9. vegetable oil, for frying
For the cream
  1. ½ cup sour cream
  2. 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  3. pinch freshly grated lemon zest
  4. salt
  1. Fill sink with cold water. Halve leeks lengthwise, then swish gently in water, fanning out layers to loosen any grit. Slice crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. (If using cooked vegetables, slice into 1/4-inch strips and add to bowl in Step 3.)
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook leeks 3 to 4 minutes, until softened but not limp. Drain and wring dry in a towel.
  3. Transfer leeks to a large bowl and add scallions. In another bowl, whisk together flour, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder, a few grinds of black pepper and cayenne. Add to leeks and stir. Add egg and stir.
  4. Heat oven to 200 degrees. In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until shimmering. Drop heaping tablespoons of leek mixture into skillet and lightly flatten with the back of a spatula. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes; if cooking too quickly, lower the heat. Flip fritters and cook until golden on the other side, another 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to oven.
  5. Repeat with remaining leek mixture, adding oil and adjusting heat as needed.
  6. When fritters are cooked, make cream: whisk all ingredients together and season to taste with salt. Serve warm fritters in stacks, with a dollop of cream on top.
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