How to Make Melted Leeks

I have attempted to make melted leeks on a number of occasions but the texture always ended up being slightly tough. This isn't a complicated dish so I just figured my amateur status in the kitchen was to blame. It wasn't until I forgot about my pan on the stove that the leeks finally crossed over to the melt-in-your-mouth zone. Happy cooking accidents are the best.

Useless Facts

Leeks are the royalty of the Allium family. They're the symbol of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and on March 1st citizens wear leeks (or daffodils) on their lapels to celebrate Saint David's Day. Upon reading this, I immediately asked the Google for photographic evidence of said veggie fashion statement. The following photo makes me inexplicably happy.

Saint David's Day - 1957 - Geoff Charles

Legend has it that in the 6th century there was a battle that wasn't going very well for the Welsh. Since the fighting was taking place in a leek field, Saint David suggested to the soldiers that they identify themselves by wearing leeks on their helmets. Makes sense. The tide turned in favor of the Welsh and the rest is vegetable-wearing history.

How mainstream is wearing leeks you ask? (Am I the only one totally fascinated by this?) Shakespeare wrote an entire scene about the practice in Henry V. That's pretty legit.

Recipe

Leeks are a regal vegetable, but they're dirty. My process for cleaning these veggies is simple and involves zero extra dishes.

  • Cut the root and dark greens off.
  • Remove the outer layer (there's almost always dirt underneath).
  • Slice the remaining portion of the leek lengthwise, taking care not to cut all the way through.
  • Gently fan the leek out under running water and rinse any dirt away.

If you plan to use the dark greens or want an alternative method, here's a video from Gourmet Magazine.

Tools

Leeks at Rutiz Farms, Santa Monica Farmers Market

Ingredients

  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp to add as needed
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter Note: You can sub olive oil to make this dish vegan.
  • Kosher or flake-style salt

Instructions

  • In a 10" non-stick pan, heat the butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Once the butter starts to foam, add the leeks, 1/2 tsp of salt, and stir. Note: The salt will help draw out moisture.
  • Adjust the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Note: I don't have a lid specifically for my non-stick pan so I just use a stock-pot lid.
  • Set the timer for 30 minutes and go about your business, stirring the leeks a few times. Note: If the leeks start to look dry add 1/2 tbsp olive oil as needed.
  • After 30 minutes, taste the leeks and make sure they melt in your mouth. The texture should not be chewy or firm. Extend the cooking time if you haven't reached this point.
  • Remove the leeks from the heat and cool.

Serving Suggestions

  • What do melted leeks not go with? Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Farro Salad
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Pizza - Four onion pizza, or really any pizza that calls for caramelized onions.
  • Fish - Maybe add in some roasted tomatoes as well.
  • Mashed Potatoes - Try some roasted garlic with this.
  • Eggs - Leeks and goat cheese were meant for eggs.

Storage

Melted leeks can be refrigerated for 2-3 days in an airtight container and they freeze beautifully.

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