This recipe comes to us from Alexis de Boschnek’s book “To the Last Bite: Recipes and Ideas for Making the Most of Your Ingredients.” Read Bluedot’s Q&A with de Boschnek on how careful cooking can combat food waste.
Sure, leeks take a few minutes to clean, but it’s worth it. Braised in butter and white wine and steeped in garlic and thyme, these leeks become so tender they almost melt in your mouth. Serve them as a side dish all on their own, or chop them up and add to one pound of cooked pasta for an easy weeknight meal. Serves 2 to 4.
4 to 5 medium leeks
1/4 cup raw walnuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 garlic cloves
4 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Flaky sea salt
On a cutting board, trim the root end and dark leek tops. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and remove any tough outer leaves. Run the leeks under cold water to wash out any soil, careful to keep the leeks intact. Line a cutting board with paper towels. Transfer the leeks to the paper towel–lined cutting board to dry completely.
Heat a large stainless steel or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and toast for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the walnuts smell fragrant. Transfer the walnuts to a plate to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, roughly chop and reserve for later.
Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the same pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add the leeks, cut-side down, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
Carefully flip the leeks with tongs and season with the salt and pepper. Cook the leeks for about another 3 minutes, or until the other side is golden brown.
Add the wine to the pan and cook for about 1 minute, without stirring, or until you can no longer smell the alcohol.
Add the stock, garlic, and thyme to the pan and bring it to a simmer. Place a lid on the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until a knife can easily pierce the leeks without any resistance.
Carefully remove the leeks, leaving the liquid in the pan, and set them on a serving plate. Discard the thyme.
Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the vinegar and cook the liquid for about 3 minutes, or until reduced by half.
Pour the sauce over the leeks and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and the reserved toasted walnuts. The leeks can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.