Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fixing Leeks

Last night we had a small finger food party to help us feel cheerful about the cold and darkness.  I love leeks and it was a sad day when I discovered that we'd left our crop in the ground during a freeze and that they'd turned into fragrant piles of goo.  Yesterday, I found some especially grand specimens at the grocery and decided to poach them up as a contribution.  I happened upon the poaching approach while massacring a leek and onion terrine recipe from Stephane Reynaud's book a few months ago.  (I failed to use enough gelatin and ended up with a dingy and viscous puddle of allium and broth.)  Last night, I removed the green tops and rough chopped them, discarding the upper third.  Then I took the luscious, white bottoms and sliced them lengthwise to within a quarter inch of the root end.  I washed the tops and bottoms thoroughly in cold water.  I quartered an onion and fried it with the chopped leek tops in some oil until they began to soften.  I added the leek bottoms to the pot and covered all with water and tossed in a pinch or two of salt.  

I simmered the leeks for about 15 minutes and then drained them well in a colander.  I strained the sweet broth and reserved for a future project and retained the now tender green tops and the onion to snack on later.

Once the leek bottoms had drained and cooled, I halved them completely and cut each half into two inch boats.  I squeezed a half a lemon over them and drizzled them with flavorful olive oil from some garlicky confited garbanzo beans in the fridge.  A few grindings of pepper and salt and plated with a dollop of mayonnaise on the side, the leeks made a simple and succulent contribution to the table.  We also had olives, smoked fish, a delectable spread made from cannelinni beans, a wedge of Delice de Bourgogne with toasts and crusty baguette.  Before dinner, a brandy milk punch in each fist, we toasted the big northern night.  Then we tucked into the plates with our hands.       

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