We're starting to get into the season of fantastic greens, and this recipe calls for one of my favorites. Arugula (also known as rocket) is prepared in two ways—chopped and quickly cooked with leeks for the tart filling, as well as lightly dressed and served on top, adding its characteristic bright, bitter flavor to an otherwise rich, creamy dish.
'Leeks' on Serious Eats
Salads are a staple of many a resolution-conscious eater come January. And while eating more vegetables is always a healthy choice, meal after meal of barely-dressed plates of carrots and mixed greens will get old quickly. Yvette van Boven's Speckled Salad with Quinoa, Leek, Bacon, and Chervil in her new Home Made Winter hits many health points (Vegetables! Whole grains! Spinach!) while still including enough pleasurable bits (Bacon! Wine! Bacon!) to prevent boredom.
Ham, leeks, and a velvety layer of bubbly, broiled cheddar sauce: ham-and-cheese sandwich that's not so ho-hum.
Simply cook cod on one side until it's crisp and golden and serve it on a bed of delicate creamed leeks for an easy, not too heavy dish.
My favorite way to cook leeks as the main ingredient in a dish is to braise them. They retain their subtly aroma but acquire a completely tender, almost meaty texture as they slowly break down and absorb liquid.
Tender, softly-onion leeks are roasted with the autumnal flavors of thyme and Parmesan for a soft, earthy, nutty, awesome side dish.
Baked potatoes filled with a gooey cheddar-leek topping.
Just because the title of Yvette van Boven's cookbook is Home Made, it doesn't necessarily mean that everything has to be made from scratch. Her lovely Long Leek Pie uses store-bought puff pastry because, really, in some cases store-bought is just fine. This pie comes from the "On the Side" chapter, which is full of simple sides to accompany her DIY mains.
One of the great things about spring is that it provides you with a plethora of vegetables that need only brief cooking stints to become delicious. This makes them the perfect companion for a roast chicken dinner. Simply roast your chicken, have your vegetable prepped, then cook them while the chicken rests. All of your food comes out piping hot at the exact same time.
The dish is simple: Sliced leeks are sautéed down in a little bit of butter until they're soft and sweet. Then I add cream and a dash of Parmesan (my addition to tradition). The cream binds the leeks together and has that same savory-sweetness of the leeks themselves, while the Parmesan adds a punch of salt to wake it all up.
This stew has many of the same ingredients of a bouillabaisse, but comes together with a few simple steps. Adding the fish in two stages allows the first addition to break down and fortify the tomato broth, and the second to add some meaty substance to the final product. This stew is great with a simple loaf of Italian bread, but would go very well with some thick pasta (like pappardelle) and a big green salad.
Taking a cue from Cornish pasties (know in West Cornish dialect as tiddy oggy (!), these are little moon-shaped handheld pastries filled with savory ingredients. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall offers up three filling variations in River Cottage Every Day—leftover stew, lentil and squash, and chicken and leek.
I rarely cook anything that doesn't include onion and garlic, especially simple soups. But with leeks in the picture, you don't need much else. This soup is easy and cheap (always good). It also celebrates my favorite springtime vegetable, with just a hint of lemon and dill to make the whole pot sing.
It's stew season, or at least that's what my thermometer has been telling me. Unfortunately, most stews take longer to make than an hour to make, meaning they don't often work for a frantic weeknight meal. But this one is just close enough that it's worth giving it a noble try. If you're quick and efficient this wonderful lamb stew from the New York Times can be whipped up in one hour, but it will taste like it's been bubbling away for far longer than that.
When I lived in France, my host mother used to heat up purchased buckwheat crepes with ham and eggs as a dinner last resort, when she was short on time and ingredients. Though she was a good cook, I liked that simple meal as much as anything else she made. You can in fact buy pre-made crepes over here, too, but frying the crepes yourself adds only a little in the way of time and really nothing in the way of ingredients. If your appetite is hardy, you can also crack two eggs over each crepe without straying from the eight-buck budget.
The problem with most cheese soups is they seem more like a cheese dip than something you're supposed to eat with a spoon. I'm not sure if the issue is too much cheese or cream, but I wanted to make something that had the flavors of some spectacular real English cheddar, without feeling like I was snarfing down a pot of fondue. This recipe from Gourmet manages to balance the funky kick of a great cheese with a truly flavorful broth.
This Tomato, Zucchini, and Leek Galette with Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese is a perfect example of Emeril's newfound reverence for fresh produce. Ripe summer tomatoes, zucchini, and leeks are seasoned with just a touch of salt and white pepper, layered on a bed of herbed goat cheese and puff pastry. It's a gorgeous and simple dish that lets the true character of the ingredients come through with all of its summery goodness.
If there was every a good time to tackle a recipe requiring 5 pounds of asparagus, it's now. All those spears are grilled, pureed, and then topped with a gremolata to make a soup that's a pleasant break from my usual asparagus preparations.
These Egg Noodles with Fava Beans, Leeks, and Morels from Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian is a fresh take on pasta primavera for all of us who have relegated the 1980s-popular dish to the dusty halls of dishes that have gone out of fashion. It's a plate of pasta that brings together all of the wonderful vegetal elements of spring and pairs them with just the right amount of butter, cream, and pasta.