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Turkish Leek Patties (keftes de prassa)

Turkish Leek Patties (keftes de prassa)

From Gil Marks’ “Olive Trees and Honey” • Makes 24 patties

2 pounds (about 10) leeks, white & light green parts only, cut into thin lengthwise slices and washed
2 to 5 cloves garlic
1 ½ teaspoons table salt or
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup mashed potatoes
About ½ cup matzah cake meal,
fresh bread crumbs,
or finely ground walnuts
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
or melted butter
About ½ teaspoon ground
black pepper
¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly grated
nutmeg or cayenne (optional)
¹⁄3 to ²⁄3 cup (1 to 2 ounces) grated aged kashkaval, Parmesan, or Romano cheese (optional)
¹⁄3 cup pine nuts, toasted, optional
About 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges

1. Add the leeks to a large pot of lightly salted boiling water. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool. Squeeze out the excess liquid.
2. Using the tip of a heavy knife or a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and salt into a paste. In a large bowl, combine the cooked leeks, potatoes, and matzah meal. Add the eggs, tablespoon of oil, garlic paste, pepper, and, if using, the nutmeg, cheese, and pine nuts. If the mixture is too soft to form into patties, add a little more matzah meal. Shape the mixture into patties 3 inches long, 2 inches wide, and ¾ inch thick, with tapered ends.
3. In a large skillet, heat about ½ inch oil over medium-high heat. In batches, fry the patties turning, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve hot or at room temperature accompanied with the lemon wedges. The keftes can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 day, then reheated in a 250 F oven or in a tomato sauce.

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