Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crispy Fried Leek Rings

It's finally March - unfortunately, the winter weather isn't giving up without a fight.  A surprise storm dropped two feet of snow in northern Vermont last week, but luckily it seems to be melting off fairly quickly.  While waiting for the weather to warm up, I've started adding my favorite spring ingredients to my recipes.  The leeks at the local market looked so gorgeous this week that I wanted to let their flavor shine through in a simple preparation.

I decided on a super-light breading, a quick high-heat fry, and a sprinkle of sea salt.  These crispy little beauties look like baby onion rings, but have the crisp of a potato chip and a bright, fresh flavor that no bulb onion can match.  Fried leek rings would make a great snack to go with a round of St. Paddy's Day pints - but make several, because they're delicious and may disappear quickly.



Crispy Fried Leek Rings
Makes snacks for 2-3, but can be easily multiplied to feed a crowd

3 leeks, roots and leaves trimmed (only use the white and lightest green part)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. A/P flour
1/2 c. finely ground toasted breadcrumbs (store-bought ok - do not use panko)
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Preheat oil in deep fryer or dutch oven to 375 degrees.  While the oil is preheating, set up a station with two pie-plates or bowls:  pour the milk into one bowl; and in the second bowl, whisk together the flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.  Slice the white and light green part of the leeks into 1/4" slices.  Then, take the leek slices and separate them into rings.  Working a few at a time, dip the leek rings into the milk, then lightly shake them off and move them to the flour and breadcrumb mixture.  Fry the rings in the heated oil for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until they are golden brown and crispy.  Place the fried leek rings onto a paper towel to absorb any extra grease, and season immediately with a sprinkle of salt.

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