Ooooh, happy Saturday! Spring has arrived! A freshness in the air. Tender leaves unfolding. Bees a buzzing. Spring veggies are springing forth. Oh joy 🙂 – let the cooking begin!!
First up – leeks! Most of us use leeks in a recipe as a supporting cast member; rarely as THE. STAR. of the dish. And, go ahead, admit it. You usually turn a blind eye when you see that stack of leeks in the market. What the heck do I do with those?? Well, my friends, once you taste the sublime subtle sweetness of a roasted leek, you will grab armfuls at the local spring market. Fear them no more as leeks can stand on their own as the perfect side dish.
As an added bonus, you can save the dark green tops in the freezer and throw them in the stock pot next time you make a batch. (I just have to digress for a minute: I was googling ‘Uses for Leek Tops’ and stumbled upon a rather hysterical chain of comments to a blog post question over on Serious Eats. Someone asked what to do with their leek greens to which some hoighty-toighty chef replied that the tops will make the stock bitter and ‘Have some pride in cooking, will you?’. This unleashed a rather hysterical torrent of follow-on comments from all sorts of chefs, cooks and commenters about their use of leek greens in their very tasty homemade stock. Worth a read here if you are up for a good chuckle :-))
Back to the topic at hand! Leeks. Next time you spot them at the market, definitely buy some and give this incredibly easy recipe a go. It isn’t even really a recipe just a very simple preparation which I love. We all need less stress in our lives and super easy dishes that are fresh, flavorful and on the table in a snap. This is one of them. BTW – Our friends over at Food52 just launched a new app called (Not)Recipes – a food-porn site full of glorious food photos of dishes NOT made using recipes; just simple preparations. More happiness! (You can follow Our Italian Table over there too!)
So off you go to buy some leeks and have a wonderful weekend!
- 4 leeks, about the same size if possible
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Chicken stock
- About ⅓ cup of grated Parmesan
- Trim leeks, reserving the dark green portion for another use (like stock!)
- Slice the leeks in half. Clean and wash to remove any dirt. Dry leeks. Remove any touch outer layers.
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and butter. Place the leeks cut side down and simmer until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the leeks to the other side and saute for a few minutes until brown. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Flip the leeks back over. Add ½ cup of dry white wine and enough broth to almost cover the leeks. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Transfer the leeks to a broiler-proof dish if not currently in one. Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle with additional salt, pepper and Parmesan. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and browned. Buon appetito!