Step up your Chanukah recipes with a healthy vegetable alternative to the traditional potato latke. Leeks are one of my favorite vegetables. I can not remember the first time I tried most foods. However, I remember vividly my first taste of the Leek. At my friends bat mitzvah (13 year old Jewish life event) I remember tasting the potato leek soup and thinking “wow!”. Although the thought cleaning leeks was intimidating, they are well worth the hassle. Leeks are a milder member of the onion family and have a sweet subtle flavor when cooked. Leeks are prominent in the sephardic kitchen as it is native to Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean.  This is a perfect dish to bring to your Chanukah gathering or just have as a vegetable side dish during Shabbat.

Ingredients:

  • 5 leeks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of matzo meal (Gluten Free or Whole wheat depending on your needs. If you can’t find matzo meal, it is fine to substitute gluten-free brown rice flour. This is just a binding agent for the pancakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • olive oil for frying

Yields – approximately 8 latkes

{Gluten-free option, Parve, Dairy-free option}

Recipe:

1) Clean and prepare the leeks. Chop off the dark green leaves until you are left with only the bottom white and light green stem. Cut off the bottom white stem. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and run each half under water washing between the layers of leek to get rid of dirt and grim. Chop crosswise into thick pieces.

2) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a dash of salt. Boil leeks for five minutes. Drain and squeeze out any excess water from the leeks. This is a critical step as the latkes won’t bind if the leeks are watery. Squeeze the life out of them!

Chopped Leeks

3) In a separate bowl, combine the matzo meal, eggs and seasoning. Add the leeks and mix the ingredients until combined.

4) Heat 3-4 tbs of olive oil in a frying pan. To make uniform latkes use a 1/3 measuring cup and spoon the leek mixture into the hot oil. The batter should make a popping noise when it hits the pan. Flip the latke and cook the second side once golden brown.

Note: The oil heat is very important. If too cold the pancake will absorb too much oil and become mushy. If too hot it will burn. Keep careful notice that the latke is crackling and popping but you don’t smell burning.

Here is a short clip of what you should be looking for:

5) Once both sides are golden brown remove the latke from the pan and drain excess oil on paper towels.

6) Best served warm or room temperature. Pair with lemon wedges and sour cream.

FullSizeRender (39)

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