spinach fritters

Spinach and Leek Fritters (Spanakokeftethes)

The first references to spinach are from Sasanian Persia (226-640 AD). In about 647 AD spinach was taken to China where it was known as the “Persian green.” The first written evidence of spinach in the Mediterranean is in three 10th century Arab medical and agricultural works making spinach popular in the Arab Mediterranean.

For the fritters:
3 leeks chopped
5 ounces baby spinach, chopped
½ cup feta cheese
¼ cup minced oregano
2 scallions, minced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

For the garlic tzatziki:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 Persian cucumber, diced
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
juice of ½ lemon, or more to taste
2 tablespoons dill
salt and pepper

Make the garlic tzatziki. Finely chop the garlic until it forms a paste. Place in a large bowl and mix with the yogurt, diced cucumber, olive oil, lemon, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sauté the leeks in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until very soft.

Place the leeks in a large bowl and add the spinach, feta, oregano, scallions, beaten eggs, and garlic. Stir to mix well. Then, sprinkle in the flour and baking powder, a bit at a time, until it all is incorporated and holding together.

Heat about ¼ cup olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once warmed, drop 3 scoops of batter into the skillet. After about 30 seconds, flatten them out a by pressing them down gently with a spatula. Pan fry for about 3 minutes, and then flip to fry the other side for an additional 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Place the fritters on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil and serve with garlic tzatziki.

Makes about 12 fritters

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