Aharoni’s Pan-Sephardic Leek Latkes Recipe

  • 6 leeks (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus ¼ cup for frying
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup grated Kashkeval or Parmesan cheese
  • A few grinds of pepper
  • ½ cup bread crumbs or matzoh meal, plus 1/3 cup for coating
  1. Slice the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove the grit. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and leeks and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
  2. Dice the white and some of the green of the leeks into small pieces, about ½ inch thick. Drain well, pressing the leeks in a dish towel to dry and remove any excesswater.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and add the onions, garlic, and shallots. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scatter the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for a few minutes, until evenly browned.
  5. Place the leeks, onions, garlic, shallots, pine nuts, cilantro, eggs, and cheese in a mixing bowl and blend well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add about ½ cup bread crumbs, or enough to bind the ingredients together.
  6. Take about ¼ cup of the leek mixture and form a patty 2 inches in diameter. (For cocktail-size patties, use 1 heaping teaspoon of mixture. This will make a lctke about ¾ inch in diameter.) Coat each patty with bread crumbs and repeat until all the batter is used up.
  7. Coat a nonstick frying pan evenly with some of the remaining olive oil and fry the patties a few at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.