Friday, May 1, 2009
I found the most beautiful leeks at the farmers market. They weren’t on my shopping list, but I couldn’t resist. I immediately thought Creamed Leeks and picked out four of the fattest ones I could find. My husband looked intimidated by all those leeks, but I assured him that leeks are sweet and subtle, gentle even, comparing to onions. I served the leeks with our dinner. He just nodded his approval as he chewed, too busy to say anything. And the leftovers were fantastic tucked into Eggs en Cocotte.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large leeks, pale parts only, sliced
1 cup heavy cream
Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the leeks and sauté for 14 to 16 minutes, or until soft. Add the cream and nutmeg and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl, and serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8. This snappy side dish is rich and comforting. It’s a perfect match for steak, chicken, or salmon. Leeks tend to be very dirty, so rinse them thoroughly after you slice them. For a delicious variation, substitute crème fraîche for a portion of the heavy cream. Also wonderful as a gratin—simply transfer the Creamed Leeks to a buttered baking dish, sprinkle with grated Parmegiano-Reggiano, and broil until bubbling around the edges and golden brown on top.