I am very excited to be participating in my very first post for the I Heart Cooking Clubs. I have been eyeing the group from afar, having joined the e-mail list but never participating until now. The group features two chefs a year. Yes, only two chefs. By the end of the six months, you will really get to know the featured chef. There are weekly themes and you are free to choose any recipe by the featured chef to make, that fits the theme. This week is the first week featuring chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Therefore, I found it a fitting time to "jump in and get my feet wet." I will admit that I had never heard of this chef before joining this group. From I Heart Cooking Clubs:
"Ottolenghi is an Israeli-born chef, cookbook writer, and restaurant owner who specializes in marrying his native Middle Eastern cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian flavors. He is also known as a champion of vegetables, or rather as 'the man who sexed up vegetables'. His innovative vegetarian recipes delight the palate with fresh bold flavors. Ottolenghi has three best-selling cookbooks: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, Plenty, and Jerusalem."
I borrowed Plenty from my local library and thought that for this week's theme "Anything Goes" I'd start with some Leek Fritters. The only change I made was using 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper in place of the red chile pepper that the recipe calls for. One, because my grocery store did not have any red chiles and second, because I thought that my kids might eat these and didn't want them to be too spicy. Well, I shouldn't have worried about that! They did have a bite, but they weren't digging the leeks. My husband and I found these to be really tasty though! These definitely took some time to make but I purposefully chose to make them today when I knew that I'd have plenty of time. These were really flavorful in themeselves but the sauce added another layer of deliciousness! I'm looking forward to cooking more with the I Heart Cooking Club and exploring more of Ottolenghi's recipes!
recipe from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi.
3 leeks,(1 lb in total, trimmed weight)
5 shallots, finely chopped
2/3 cup olive oil
1 fresh red chile, 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
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. self-rising flour
4 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup milk
For the Sauce:
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
First make your sauce. Blitz all the sauce ingredients together in a food processor or blender until a uniform green. Set aside for later.
Slice the leeks into 1-inch thick pieces, then rinse and drain in a colander. Pour half the olive oil in a medium pan and cook the shallots and leeks over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until they have softened. Place the mixture in a large bowl, add the pepper, parsley, spices, sugar and salt, then leave to cool.
Whisk the egg white to soft peaks in a medium bowl, then gently fold into the cooled leek mixture.
In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, egg, milk and butter to form a batter. Spoon in the vegetable mixture and gently stir to combine.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan on a medium flame. Once hot spoon in half the batter to form four large fritters. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp. Remove, drain on kitchen towels and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve the fritters warm with the sauce. Any leftover fritters will be delicious eaten cold the next day.
Mommy & Daddy Rating: 2 thumbs up!