French in a Flash: Quick-Braised Young Leeks with Parmesan and Thyme

RECIPE: Quick-Braised Young Leeks with Parmesan and Thyme
Baby Leeks with Parmesan and Thyme

Baby Leeks with Parmesan and Thyme

Sometimes, for this column, I have a very distinct thing that I want to do.  Like, Celeriac Remoulade.  And then I pace and puff and pout my way around a supermarket, hunting for the celery roots that are never going to be found, because they’re not in season.  This week, I did as the French do (probably very appropriate given the nature of this column), and just wandered the produce aisle, looking for something to strike my fancy.  And I found them, baby leeks.  They’ve been so trendy for so long, which is something you don’t say everyday.  So, I figured, let’s give them a whirl.

My flavor inspiration came from Thanksgiving stuffing, the onion and thyme action with a salty bite.  I do a quick blanch on the leeks, and then toss them with olive oil and whole thyme leaves and a bit of nutty Parmesan, and then put them into a hot oven to have everything crisp and crumble into each other.  The result is such a beautiful, unusual side dish, full of soft, mellow onion flavor, and charred, woodsy strands of thyme, and nutty, salty Parmesan.  Hey, ’tis the season.  Might as well get with the times.

Excerpted from my weekly column “French in a Flash” on Serious Eats.
Quick-Braised Young Leeks with Parmesan and Thyme
serves 2

Baby Leeks with Parmesan and ThymeINGREDIENTS

  • 6 ounces baby leeks, tips and dark greens trimmed away

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 cup water

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 10 small sprigs thyme

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Halve the leeks lengthwise.  Place the butter and water and salt in a sauté pan over high heat.  Add the leeks in a single layer, and place the lid askew over the pot.  Cook until the water has just evaporate, about 7 minutes.

Gently toss the leeks with the olive oil and add the whole thyme sprigs.  Roast in the oven until just slightly golden, about 3 minutes.  Scatter the Parmesan over the leeks, and return to the oven for 1 minute more.  Serve on the side, or on top, of chicken or fish.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian

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