Start a new Passover tradition with leek patties

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015 6:17pm
  • Life

Passover is the Jewish holiday most centered around food.

Family and friends get together around the dinner table to tell the story of their ancestors’ escape from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. A number of foods with symbolic meanings are always present at the meals, including parsley dipped in saltwater to represent the tears shed, bitter herbs (usually horseradish) to represent the bitterness of the years of slavery and matzo as a reminder of the bread that did not have time to rise before the Jews fled for Israel.

After a long ceremony, partly involving these and other foods, dinner is served. And it is always a feast, not the least because everyone is hungry after sitting around so long before the dinner begins.

It is what is expected. It is what is comfortable.

But there is no reason you can’t change things around a little. You could even start a new tradition.

On Passover, only one rule must be followed: In memory of the ancestors whose bread was baked before rising, no flour that could rise if mixed with water may be served. In practical terms, that means no wheat products or anything made with barley, oats, rye or spelt. Some Orthodox Jews also forgo beans, peas, rice and other foods that could be used to make bread.

So, while keeping this one rule in mind, you can break the chains of the culinary past and make the trek to the promised land of new culinary delights.

I turned to Joan Nathan, who is one of the country’s foremost authorities on Jewish cooking. In her “Jewish Holiday Cookbook,” I found a recipe for Greek Leek Patties, which are sort of like potato pancakes with leeks in them. And potatoes mixed with leeks is one of those perfect food combinations, like chocolate and bananas.

I cooked the patties the way Nathan recommends, but too many of them fell apart in the pan. So I added just enough matzo meal to hold together the mashed potatoes mixed with leeks, eggs and cheese. With the patties actually holding together, I fried them and they were amazing. They are also a dish that is worth serving any time of the year.

Greek leek patties

2pounds leeks

2large boiling potatoes (not russets), peeled

3large eggs, beaten

3tablespoons matzo meal

1/2cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

Wash the leeks carefully, slicing them vertically to remove all of the grit. Dice the white base and the palest green part of the leaves. Parboil in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain.

Boil the potatoes until they are soft. Drain and cool. Using a potato masher or food processor, mash the potatoes. Add the leeks, blending them in well. Add the eggs, matzo meal, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Form this mixture into 12 patties.

Pour oil 1/2-inch deep in a heavy frying pan. When the oil reaches 375 degrees, drop the patties into the oil, 2 or 3 per batch. Fry until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 119 calories; 4g fat; 2g saturated fat; 51mg cholesterol; 5g protein; 16g carbohydrate; 2g sugar; 2g fiber; 87mg sodium; 71mg calcium.

— Daniel Neman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Talk to us

More in Life

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay walks into the Prohibition Grille along Hewitt Avenue in Everett Wednesday Dec. 5, 2012 while reportedly filming an episode of Kitchen Nightmares at the Everett restaurant. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald)
Even more films and TV shows filmed in Snohomish County

Readers point out projects previously missed in this series, from reality television to low-budget indie films.

Daniella Beccaria / for The Herald

15-month-old Kantu attempts to climb a pumpkin at Stocker Farms in Snohomish on Sunday, September 20th, 2015. Stocker Farms offers a U-pick patch, farm animals and a corn maze.
Best pumpkin patch in Snohomish County

You voted, we tallied, here are the results.

Local musician Alex Johnston, whose newest album "Daylight Fooldream" pairs with short film he made with help from his partner Mikaela Henderson, sits with his morning coffee on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at Narrative Coffee in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Folktronica musician shoots 37-minute visual album on iPhone in Everett

Alex Johnston, 31, describes his music as ”if Coldplay and Bon Iver had a love child.”

Death of parent with child. Piece of paper with parents and children is torn in half.
Helping children cope with the hard realities of divorce

I’s important to set aside one’s feelings and find a way to make this challenging transition as comfortable for children as you can.

In Belgium, each type of beer has its own glass – whether wide, tall, or fluted – to show off its distinct qualities.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Bruges brews lift a weary traveler’s spirits

The Belgian city is a mecca for beer lovers from around the world.

Children’s author Barbara Herkert to lead Story Time at Edmonds Bookshop, Friday September 29th, 9:30-10:00 am!
Author to read her new kids book at Edmonds bookstore

Author Barbara Herkert will read “This Old Madrone Tree” Friday at Edmonds Bookshop.

Flowering knotweed Persicaria amplexicaulis firetail in the morning light.
Save for one infamous variety, fleece flowers are easy to fall in love with

This long-blooming, easy-to-grow perennial comes in many desirable varieties. But watch out: One is an invasive knotweed.

Can he get the fare difference refunded after he was downgraded?

American Airlines downgrades Thomas Sennett and his family to economy class on their flights from Boston to Phoenix. Why isn’t it refunding the fare difference?

From left, Elora Coble, Carol Richmond, David Hayes, Karli Reinbold, Giovanna Cossalter Walters, Landon Whitbread in a scene from Edmonds Driftwood Players' production of "Murder on the Orient Express." (Dale Sutton / Magic Photography)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Edmonds Driftwood Players opens its 65th season with Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.”

Most Read