It’s hard to believe this restaurant-quality dish (in flavor, at least; let’s just quietly ignore my food-staging skills) only costs around $4 to make, but there you have it. They’re admittedly a lot like pancakes, so they work great for brunch or dinner. They can also be made with or without the tzatziki-like sauce, although I would not advise going without. If you’re lucky enough to still have overwintered leeks in your garden, this is definitely the time to use them.
Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty.” It serves about 4 (it may not look like a lot, but they’re surprisingly filling); side garden salad optional.
• 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (I did not have overwintered leeks in my garden): $1.20
• 5 medium-small shallots, chopped: 75 cents
• 1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped: 5 cents
• 1/2 cup parsley (leaves and stalks), chopped (garden): $0
• 3/4 cup plus 1 T self-rising flour (if you need another use for self-rising flour, try these biscuits): 20 cents
• 1 T sugar: 2 cents
• 1 beaten egg plus 1 egg white (garden): $0
• 3/4 tsp ground coriander: 2 cents
• 1 tsp ground cumin: 2 cents
• 1/4 tsp ground turmeric: 2 cents
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon: 1 cent
• 1/2 tsp salt: 1 cent
• 1 T baking powder: 2 cents
• 2/3 cup milk: 10 cents
• 4 1/2 T unsalted butter, melted: 27 cents
• 2/3 cup oil: 30 cents
• 1/2 cup plain yogurt: 25 cents
• 1/2 cup sour cream: 30 cents
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed: 2 cents
• 2 T lemon juice: 25 cents
• 3 T olive oil: 18 cents
• 1/2 tsp salt: 1 cent
• 1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped (garden): $0
• 2 cups cilantro leaves (about half a bunch), chopped (yes, it seems like a lot, but I assure you it’s not overly cilantro-y): 25 cents
GRAND TOTAL: $2.99 + $1.26 = $4.25/4 = $1.06/serving
To make the sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Rinse the leek slices, if you haven’t already (I like to put them in a bowl, cover them with water, swish them around, and then lift them out with a skimmer; even if they look clean, there’s almost always some sand and grit left at the bottom). Sauté the leeks and shallots in half the oil over medium heat, until softened. (About 10-15 minutes.) Transfer to a large bowl and add the serrano, parsley, spices, sugar and salt. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Beat the egg white to soft-peak stage and fold it into the cooled vegetable mixture.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, whole egg, milk and butter. It should make a fairly thick batter. Gently fold it into the egg white/vegetable mixture.
Pour 2 T of the remaining oil into a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Spoon half the mixture into the skillet to make about four fritters.
Fry on each side for about 3 minutes, until browned. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to keep warm. Repeat with the other half of the mixture. Serve with the sauce (and garden salad, if desired).