LEEKS

Allium porrum

Refrigerate leeks for up to 2 weeks wrapped lightly in plastic to avoid aromas spreading to other foods.  Leeks can be used like onions and even in place of them.  The roots and green leaves are great additions to homemade vegetable stocks.

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Caramelized Leek Salad
From Farmer John’s Cookbook

1/2 cup walnut halves
1 tbsp unsalted butter
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, white and green parts only, sliced (about 3 cups)
4 cups mixed salad greens
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 pears, cored, sliced (you may want to sprinkle with lemon juice to keep from turning brown)
4 ounces cheese, crumbled or thinly sliced (chevre, fresh pecorino, Parmesan, fontina, or smoked gouda work well)

Toast the walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant.  (Be careful not to over toast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.)  Immediately transfer the nuts to a dish to cool.  Chop the nuts.  Heat the butter and 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until they are a deep golden color, about 45 minutes.  Drain and cool.  In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the salt and pepper to taste.  Add the balsamic vinegar and toss; add the remaining olive oil and toss again.  Divide the greens among four plates;  sprinkle with the caramelized leeks and toasted walnuts.  Arrange the pear slices on the leeks.  Sprinkle with cheese.

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