I Have a Thing for Leeks


The object of my affection, leeks

I don’t know why, but for some reason I love leeks.  As far as I know my mom never really cooked with them so it’s not like I’ve got some wonderful childhood memories tied up with the smell of gently simmering leeks, (like I do with spaghetti sauce.)  They look like big, fat overgrown scallions – full of possibility and mystery.  I just love the idea of them.

And it’s not like there’s a plethora of leek recipes out there.  Up until a few months ago, the only thing I ever made was Potato Leek soup. (Which is great in its’ own right, but really how much potato leek soup can a person eat?)

In fact, I’m so in love with leeks that I buy them every week at the farmers market with the best intention of creating a leek masterpiece, but unfortunately, more times than not they wilt in the fridge before I get around to using them.

My trusty copy of “The World Encyclopedia of Cooking Ingredients” describes leeks as, “versatile alliums with their own distinct flavor.  They are excellent cooked in pies and casseroles with other ingredients, braised in cream and served by themselves, or simmered in butter as an accompanying vegetable.”

Really?  And all along I thought they were just refrigerator decorations that shed dirt all over the place.

So when I finally began cooking the leeks that had been piling up I found that the encyclopedia was right.  They really are versatile and they definitely have their own distinct flavor.  And I’m as much in love with them now as I was before I started eating them.

Two of my favorite recipes are also Madison and Joel’s favorites.  I like to serve the Mushroom Leek tart with a small mixed green side salad.  It tastes even better the next day.

Mushroom Leek Tart, serves 6

1 pre-baked tart shell
7 tbsp butter
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup Gruyere cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and add the mushroom and leeks.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until they’ve lost their firmness.  In a large bowl, mix the eggs, cream, Gruyere and salt and pepper.  Stir in the leek and mushroom mix and pour into the tart shell.  Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

My other new-favorite recipe is Wild Rice Hash, which uses leeks and mushrooms to cleverly disguise Brussels sprouts.  In fact, this dish was so successful Madison had almost finished eating when I proudly cackled, “Ha!  I got you to eat Brussels sprouts!”  The look I got from her was priceless.

Wild Rice Hash, serves 4

1 ½ cups cooked wild rice
9-10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 small leeks, sliced
6-8 Brussels sprouts, sliced
Grapeseed oil
2-3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Sauté the mushrooms, leeks and sprouts in grapeseed oil until they loose their firmness.  Remove from the heat and add to the cooked rice.  Toss with rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper and serve.

3 comments on “I Have a Thing for Leeks

  1. Recipe Chefs
    April 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Excellent post thanks for sharing. I love sharing delicious recipes. Food is something we all can enjoy. Take care.

    Delicious Cod Recipe

    • Heather
      April 21, 2011 at 11:46 am #

      I agree. Food is for sharing! Thanks for your “like” and comment.

  2. courtney
    May 30, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    you gave me the tart tecipe over the phone one day and i looooved it – i am gonna make it one more time before it gets too warm out – my poor family, they will learn to LOVE mushrooms!!

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