Keftes are often a tasty trick to use leftovers such as cooked fish or mashed potatoes (keftes de patata). These patties are often simmered in lemon or tomato sauce. They are often presented in a tray with lemon wedges or tahina (sesame seed sauce) or even as a sandwich in pita bread.
Sephardic keftes can be served as an appetizer, a side dish or a main course. Keftes being fried, they are often prepared for Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) where beignets and fried food like latkes are traditionally served. Leek or spinach fritters are traditionally on Rosh Hashanah and Pesach (Passover) tables.
Recipe of Ejjeh B’Kerrateh (leek fritters)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (15 patties)
1 cup breadcrumbs (or matzo meal)
1 lb ground beef (optional)
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
½ teaspoon allspice
Vegetable oil for frying
Wash the leeks well to remove dirt.
Cut off and discard the green parts, roots and outer leaves.
Cut the leeks into thin slices and place in a large bowl of cold water. Change the water several times. Drain well.
Option 1: boiled leeks
Place the leeks in a saucepan with water to cover.
Cover and boil until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside until leeks are cool enough to be handled.
Take handfuls of cooked leeks and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Option 2: fried leeks
Place the leeks in a large frying pan with oil.
Sauté for 15-20 minutes until the leeks are tender.
In a large bowl, combine the leeks, ½ cup of bread crumbs, eggs, Aleppo pepper and allspice. Add salt and pepper.
The mixture should be thick enough to form patties. If the mixture is too runny, add bread crumbs, a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is easy to handle.
Form patties of about 3 inches diameter and ½ inch thick.
Dip patties in the remaining bread crumbs and fry in hot oil until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Drain on paper towels.
Serve hot with lemon.