French in a Flash: Creamed Leeks
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 are soft, and sweet. Then, I add cream and a dash of Parmesan (my addition to tradition). The cream creates that texture that binds all the leeks together, and has that same savory-sweetness of the leeks themselves. The Parmesan adds that punch of salt to wake it all up. It’s so simple, but decadent. And it goes perfectly with everything–under fish, seared chicken breasts, even sliced steak. Why gild the lily?
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large leeks, washed, and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup water
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan
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.
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