Leeks are plentiful right now and make a very tasty combination with potatoes. This is our favorite way to highlight the duo: soft leeks atop crispy browned potatoes. The leeks are slowly sauteed in butter and seasoned with caraway and paprika. Change up the seasoning as you like, adding herbs or spices in place of or in addition to the ones used here.
For the Leek and Yogurt Sauce
3 good-size leeks, white and light green part, trimmed and rinsed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Greek yogurt or drained regular yogurt (or if you want these super rich, use sour cream)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons paprika (use smoked if you prefer the flavor)
Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, and then cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Place the leeks in a bowl of cold water and swish around to separate and loosen any dirt and grit. The dirt and grit will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Skim the leeks out of the water into a strainer to drain excess water. It is fine if they are still damp.
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the leeks. Sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them to a bowl and allow to cool. Add the yogurt, caraway, paprika and stir to mix well. Taste and add more sea salt and pepper if you like. Set aside at room temperature.
For the Potato Pancakes
Peel and grate the potato(es) and mix in a bowl with the egg. Add some sea salt and pepper. Heat a little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Give the potato mixture a stir and drop by spoonfuls into the pan. Try to keep some space around the pancakes so they brown well. Flatten the pancakes with a spatula and cook until they are well browned. Flip over and brown the second side. Remove pancakes to plates or a platter and keep warm. Continue making cakes with the rest of the mixture, using more oil as needed. Serve with a good spoonful of leek and yogurt sauce on each pancake.
Recipe and Photograph Copyright Deirdre Davis 2016
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