No matter what holiday it is, my mother always makes ktzitzot prasa, or leek “meatballs,“ which in reality are a bit more like patties or fritters than conventional meatballs. While at other times of the year I may avoid frying foods because of the lingering smell, somehow I don’t mind frying these up, especially during the holidays, when the smell of frying things in oil will mix with the other dishes cooking instead of dominating the entire house. Whatever you call them and whenever you make them, they are delicious and always devoured quickly.
These ktzitzot prasa are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and are perfect for a Passover side dish or dinner during the week of Passover. Boiling the leeks for a quick 5 minutes mellows out the flavor and softens them up. If you would like to make a vegetarian version, you can leave out the beef completely. (There is no need to substitute with any other ingredients). After frying the patties, I place them on a wire cooling rack instead of a paper towel lined plate which ensures they stay crispy on both sides. If you’re not serving the ktzitzot right away, keep them warm in an oven preheated to 180 degrees F.
For the dipping sauce:
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp zhug (store-bought is totally fine)
For the fritters:
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4-5 medium leeks, white and light green parts, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/2″ half moons
- 1/4 lb ground beef
- 1/3 cup matzah meal
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- fresh black pepper
- canola oil for frying
- slices of lemon to serve
- To make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine the mayo, lemon juice, and schug. Cover and set in the fridge until ready to serve.
- To make the fritters: Start by placing potatoes in a medium pot and cover with at least 4 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Boil the potatoes for 8 minutes then add the leeks. Boil for an additional 5 minutes then drain into a colander. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Find the potato pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Mash the potato with a fork until smooth.
- Add the leeks, beef, matzah meal, egg, salt, cumin, and fresh black pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined.
- Using wet hands, shape the patties. Each should be about 2 tablespoons.
- In a large non-stick skillet or pan, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan by 1/2 inch. Heat over medium heat until the oil shimmers.
- Once oil is hot, fry patties in batches for 2-3 minutes on the first side then 1-2 minutes on the second side. Transfer to a cooling rack out of the oil to ensure they stay crispy. Sprinkle them with a bit of kosher salt. Serve with lots of lemon wedges and dipping sauce.