British Leek season begins in November, with leeks at their best and in abundance until April. Here, Masterchef 2013 finalist Larkin Cen shares his British take on an tapas classic - cheese and leek croquettes.
Larkin Cen’s Cheese and Leek Croquettes
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 British leek, washed and finely chopped, remove tough outer leaves
500g floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edward, peeled and cut into chunks
60g Cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and black pepper for seasoning
60g plain flour
150g Panko breadcrumbs
1 bottle vegetable oil, for deep frying
In a frying pan over a low heat, sweat the leek with a splash of olive oil for about 5 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.
Boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water for 15–20 minutes or until tender; drain. Return to the pan, and mash until smooth. Add the leeks, 1 egg, cheese, and parsley and mix together with a wooden spoon until it comes together. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir thoroughly. Chill for at least 1 hour to firm.
Spread the flour over a flat tray, and lightly beat the remaining 2 eggs in a shallow bowl. Put the breadcrumbs on a separate plate. Roll the chilled mixture into 12 balls of equal sized cylinders. Gently roll the croquettes in the flour, then dip each one in the beaten egg, and lastly coat in the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil to 150°C in a large saucepan or deep fat fryer. Test the temperature by dropping in a few breadcrumbs, if they sizzle nicely the heat is at the correct temperature, if they turn black quickly, turn the heat down. Deep fry the croquettes for 5 minutes until golden brown. Cook in batches. Serve immediately.