Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Leek Latkes

Passover (or as my friend Natalie says in Hebrew, 'Pesach') was this week, which means I heard the collective groan of my Jewish friends around the world as they refrained from eating leavened bread for 8 days. Many non-Jews in America don't really know much about Passover, (including myself!) other than it starts with a Seder in which matzo balls are involved. The Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke tout that the Seder that marked the start of Passover was also the Last Supper, which is pretty darn cool if it's true.
I'm not Jewish, but have always loved the sense of community that seems to be so strong within their faith. I'm sure that it's present in some Christian groups as well, but part of me has never felt more at home than when I'm with my Jewish friends. I think there were some my family members at some point in our lineage who were Jewish, and I grew up in a neighborhood/school district in which many of the families were, as well. This, in my 13 year old's mindset, was awesome since it meant I got to go to a lot of Bat and Bar Mitzvah's! It wasn't until years later I realized how hugely beneficial it was having those cultural lessons during my impressionable years.

Going back to how the Last Supper was potentially a Passover Seder: I remember the church I grew up in would actually hold a Passover Seder every year at the church- bitter parsley and matzo ball soup and all! I can't remember if it was tied to the Easter celebrations they put on around the same time, or if it was more for cultural/learning purposes, but I remember enjoying it immensely. I think our minister would have a Rabbi come in to lead the Seder, and I learned a lot about their celebration of freedom, which is what Passover is all about, you know. 

I realize that Latkes are usually a dish made at Hanukkah, and if we're telling secrets... I actually made these in early December and have had the pictures sitting in iPhoto, waiting to be utilized. Like most things in my life lately though, my brain is about 2-3 weeks behind the actual times and the beginning of Passover just snuck up on me and I didn't want to be posting a matzo ball soup recipe in the middle of Passover, since that would just be strange. Leeks can be slightly bitter, right, so that counts for Passover... right? Just say yes and appease me!

So I kind of absolutely loved these leek latkes so much I ate the whole batch for breakfast after a night shift. They were so easy to make--not to mention quick, which is essential when you're brain is utterly confused about when it's supposed to be awake and when it's supposed to be asleep and a hot stove is involved. I made another batch the next day and while they didn't last long either, they did freeze quite nicely. After making a few batches with both whole wheat and matzo meal... it's very difficult to choose a favorite but I will have to stick with the matzo meal on this one. It can't be beat!

You may substitute matzo meal for the whole wheat flour if you're sticking with the matzo for Passover. They are also Parve (unless you garnish with sour cream), so eat away!
One Year Ago: Salad of the Moment (Can I still call it that if I eat this salad all.the.time?)

Leek Latkes

Slightly adapted from About.Com

3 large leeks, washed and diced (I think I had about 3-4 cups worth)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole wheat flour (or 1 1/2 cups of matzo meal)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
Vegetable oil, for frying
Applesauce or sour cream, for serving

In a large soup pot, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Add leeks and cover the pot with a lid. Turn heat down to medium. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the leeks are bright green and just tender.

While the leeks are cooking, mix together the flour or matzo meal, and seasonings in a large bowl. Set aside. 

Drain the leeks in a colander, and let them cool a bit. Add to the bowl with dry ingredients and mix well. Add the eggs and stir to combine. 

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, drop batter by tablespoonfuls into pan. I recommend using a disher (I used a #20) to help with this. Flatten the pancakes a bit so they are not too thick to cook well in the middle. Fry approximately 3 minutes on each side, until browned on both sides and firm in the middle. Remove from frying pan onto paper towels to drain excess oil.

Repeat, starting with hot oil and then dropping spoonfuls of batter, until all the batter is used.

Serve hot with applesauce or sour cream.

Give thanks for your freedom, whatever your faith might be.


  1. ohh leeks are the best! great post about passover, I def fall into the group of people who aren't really aware of it, not on purpose... it just never really crossed my path until now. Thanks for the education :)

  2. Love your blog! I'm happy to follow you, you can visit my blog when you find time :)


  3. Yummy these latkes must be delicious!


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