From the Kitchen Window column
Sephardic Jews make leek fritters (keftes de prasa) for holidays from Rosh Hashanah to Passover to Hanukkah. Here the beloved leeks are combined with spears of asparagus, and the whole mixture is perked up with lemon zest and fresh mint. If you'd like to serve this for a dairy-free kosher meat meal, simply swap out the cottage cheese for an equal amount of moist mashed potatoes.
Makes filling for an 8- or 9-inch mina
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 small leeks, or 2 to 3 large, thinly sliced and washed free of all dirt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bunch asparagus, washed, tough stems snapped off and sliced into 1-inch lengths
1 small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped (a scant 1/4 cup)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated black pepper to taste
1 cup cottage cheese (for dairy-free, substitute an equal amount of very moist — borderline soupy — mashed potatoes)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the leeks, sprinkle with the salt and saute until they totally soften but do not color, about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus, cook for an additional minute until they just begin to turn bright green, then turn off the heat (they'll cook further in the oven). Add the mint and lemon zest, black pepper to taste and additional salt if needed. Let cool for a couple of minutes, then add the cottage cheese and eggs, stirring to combine, and proceed with the Basic Mina Template recipe.