Last spring I tried wild leeks (or ramps) for the first time. I discovered them at the Riverdale Farmer’s Market in Cabbagetown. I normally didn't bother going to farmer's markets until later in the season because I thought there would be nothing much to find but for some reason last year I found myself there in late April. I came across a vendor who was selling wild leeks and I was curious, so I bought a bunch.
I brought them home and, I hate to say it, but they sat in my fridge until it was almost too late to use them. This was partially because I did not know what to do with them and partially because I wasn’t really sure I wanted to try them (sometimes it takes me a while to warm up to new things). Eventually, my curiosity won out.
I am so glad it did. The flavour is a cross between garlic and onion, but they are so much more than that. Somehow they just seem like Spring; fresh and green and intensely flavoured. I also love the fact that they are wild. There are so few things we eat now that are. Since my first taste last year, I have wanted more and so as soon as I knew it was time I headed over to the nearest farmer’s market and bought a big bunch. I have many plans for them this year. I have a Wild Leek, Bacon and Ricotta tart recipe I want to try and a Wild Leek Biscuit recipe, but the first thing I did with them was add them to my favourite Zucchini Fritters.
These fritters are an annual event for me. I seem to crave them like clockwork every Spring. I find them really fresh and light and they are a perfect dinner solution on the nights that I don't feel like making a big meal. I just serve them along side a salad and that is enough.
The recipe normally calls for a small onion and a clove of garlic but this time I added 2 wild leeks instead. You can use the entire leek, so the leaf was also a substitute for the fresh parsley. It was a great combination and now I know every Spring I will be craving Zucchini and Wild Leek Fritters.
Zucchini and Wild Leek Fritters
If you do not have wild leeks available these fritters are very good without. Just substitute in 1 small onion, finely diced and 1 clove of garlic, minced. Add 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley as well.
1 large zucchini, grated
2 wild leeks, finely chopped (bulb and leaf)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet to medium low. Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until just combined. Drop batter by scant 1/4 cup onto the oiled and pre-heated skillet. Fry on one side until golden, flip and fry remaining side until golden brown. Cool slightly and enjoy with a tossed salad or on their own.
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