“From the Garden to the Plate” : Leeks

This is the first in a new series, with weekly recipes based on seasonal fruit, veg or herbs.

Leeks : the winter pick-me-up

I’m a late convert to growing and cooking leeks and now I can’t get enough of them.

Sauteéd slowly in butter, their flavour is more delicate and sweeter than onions and they have the added bonus of containing lots of minerals and anti-oxidants. Leek and Potato bake, cooked in stock or a rich white sauce is a favourite, sometimes enhanced with some bacon lardons.

The Scots have a number of interesting recipes, including the fabulously named Cock- a- Leekie soup – a hearty vegetable and chicken stew.

Then there’s the famous Vichyssoise, a cold soup of pureéd leeks, potatoes and cream, reputedly made famous by a French chef at The Ritz-Carlton in New York. I love Ina Garten’s (“Barefoot Contessa”) version of this.

jan 14 009

Leeks are members of the genus Allium . They are easy to grow from seed and can be harvested through the autumn and into winter; ‘Apollo’ and ‘Toledo’ are good mid to late season cultivars.

Here is my favourite way of using them:

Leek and goat’s cheese tartlets.  

Leek and goat's cheese tartlets

Leek and goat’s cheese tartlets

Ingredients :

500g leeks, well cleaned, halved and sliced finely

375g block of puff pastry (sheets)

4 slices goat’s cheese , rind on

Few sprigs of rosemary

Herb infused oil

A little butter

Method:

Heat a knob of butter in a pan until hot, add the leeks, snipped rosemary, s & p and sweat slowly on a low heat for about 20 mins.

Allow to cool.  Meanwhile, heat oven to 210C, 200C fan.

Roll the pastry out, cut 4 circles and place on a baking sheet. Spread the cooled leeks over the circles, leaving a border around the edge.

Place a slice of goat’s cheese on top of the leeks and put a sprig of rosemary on top. Brush the border with beaten egg if you like.

Bake for about 25 mins until the pastry is golden.

Serve hot, surrounded with a few salad greens and drizzled with herb infused oil.

Makes a nice starter, or a light lunch dish.

4 thoughts on ““From the Garden to the Plate” : Leeks

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