The recipe: Leek fonduta
Why I tried it: One word, really – leeks. I really think leeks are my favorite allium, if you don’t count sliced and sizzled garlic (which is not so much a favorite as an existential necessity) or crisp fried shallots (which really belong in the fried-food family). This year, owing to a chronic fetish for this baked eggs in cream breakfast, I was never without leeks in the house, and that meant that leeks were bound to feature in a weeknight, emergency, no-idea-what-to-make-for-dinner-in-half-an-hour, pasta-type meal before long.
Why I loved it: It doesn’t take much to take a leek from raw, crunchy, and vegetal to sweet, soft, and seductive – just 20 minutes of gentle heat and a modest quantity of butter. On its own leek will founder and practically melt, a plant that longs to lose its identity in cream. But in this recipe, it’s helped along by some decadent accomplices – cream and crème fraîche and grated Parmesan. Oh, it’s so terribly naughty, and embarrassingly easy too. It’s good on a bit of toasted baguette, or on some fresh pasta. And I’d be lying if I said I’d never eaten it straight out of the pan with a spoon.
Estimated preparation time: 30 minutes, tops?
4 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup creme fraiche
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Grated rind of ½ lemon
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the leeks, garlic, butter, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the leeks are translucent but not brown.
2. Add the cream and creme fraiche. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add the Parmesan, parsley, lemon, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.
Adapted from “The Broad Fork”, by Hugh Acheson (Clarkson Potter, 2015)