French in a Flash: Creamed Leeks Recipe

creamed leeks in a bowl

Serious Eats / Liz Voltz

Nothing irks me more than the neglected vegetable. It's abusive—to the vegetable, for one, and to you, because you're either missing out on your vegetables altogether, or eating ones that taste like mush. Neither is acceptable.

I was vegetarian for twelve years, so I get a special thrill when I see vegetables done right. Creamed leeks is not exactly something new in France, but it was new to me when I first had a bed of them underneath a simply sautéed fillet of fish.

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 simple but decadent dish goes perfectly with everything—under fish, seared chicken breasts, even sliced steak.

Recipe Facts

Active: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 large leeks, washed, and thinly slice

  • 1/4 cup water

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan


  1. In a nonstick sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and water, season with salt and pepper, cover, and reduce heat to low, cooking until the leeks are soft—10 minutes. Stir in the cream and Parmesan, and serve.

    collage of process of making creamed leeks

    Serious Eats / Liz Voltz