RECIPE BOX: ROASTED LEEKS
Leeks are one of my favorite vegetables. They hold a unique space in the vegetable kingdom, straddling the role of allium and as a stand-alone veggie, performing well in both categories.
We generally plant a few hardy varieties and start them indoors in open flats. They start out as grass-like blades, that get a haircut before being individually transplanted out in the field. We dibble individual holes and drop in one plant per hole. The up-front tedium yields long, straight white shafts without the need to hill.
Leeks cook down considerably in volume, concentrating their sweet, wild flavor as they soften. Use more volume than you think you need, especially for feeding a crowd.
Good quality, sizeable leeks with long shafts. You want a leek that has been kissed by frost once or twice for heightened sweetness
Extra virgin olive oil
Heat the oven to 375 degrees
Clean the leeks: trim the roots & trim the tops so that just the white and light green part remain. Remove the exterior layer and rise from the leek any remaining soil
Slice into 3-4” lengths
Quarter each piece lengthwise
Lay flat on a baking sheet, generously drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
After 20 minutes, toss the leeks and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes
While other veggies mingle well in the roasting pan, I prefer to let leeks stand apart. The flavor of a roasted leek is a simple yet unexpected comfort that deserves its own moment on the palette. It is a great dinner party side dish as it goes well with a variety of mains.