This recipe for leek fritters comes from the Ottolenghi book 'Plenty', it is an old Turkish family recipe that is really delicious. I was in Turkey twice last year, once for a few days in Istanbul and earlier in the year on the south Mediterranean coast for a very relaxing week. It is a beautiful area. We were staying near the coast which is very dramatic with huge cliffs dropping to tiny little pebble coves that you have to walk down hundreds of steps to reach. But drive twenty minutes inland and we were up in high mountains covered with huge pine trees, with fast rivers full of fresh water trout.
The mountain drive took us home through huge rocky dry mountains surrounding low lush green plateaus of farm land, growing millions and millions of tomatoes as well as corn, aubergines and chickpeas. When we eventually found our way back to the coast, after a few hours longer than planned, we came across a tiny little road side fish restaurant... They had one little boat moored on the rocks, a few chickens and some funny looking dogs, we were brought a green salad with pomegranate seeds and a syrupy pomegranate dressing, thin fried potatoes and a big tray of different sized, shaped and coloured fresh fish to point at which ones we wanted. I can't even remember which ones we went for, but everything was delicious, sat in the sun after being a bit lost in the mountains for most of the day...
To start the leek fritters chop 3 leeks into 2cm thick slices. These amounts will serve 4 people. Finely chop 5 shallots and sauté them together in a pan, on a low heat, with about 60ml of olive oil until they are soft, for about 15 minutes.
While they are cooking you can make the herb yoghurt sauce. Add 100g of Greek yoghurt, 100g of soured cream, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, half a teaspoon of salt, 20g of parsley leaves and 30g of coriander leaves to the blender and blitz for a few minutes until it is a green creamy sauce. If you don't want to make the sauce, or don't have a blender, the fritters are still delicious with just a squeeze of lemon.
Take a large bowl and add all of the following: one chopped red chilli, 25g of chopped parsley leaves, ¾ teaspoon of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. When the leeks and shallots are really soft add them to this mix and let them cool down.
Now whisk one egg white to soft peaks and add it to the cooled leeks. In another bowl mix together 120g of self raising flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, one whole egg, 150ml of milk and 55g of melted unsalted butter and mix everything together to make a light batter. Then stir this batter into the leek mix.
Finally heat 60ml of olive oil in a large frying pan. Spoon four large dollops of the mix into the pan to form four fritters, you will get about eight in total from the mix. Fry them for 2 or 3 minutes on each side until golden. Serve them warm with the sauce and a pile of salad...