The book:  The Broad Fork, by Hugh Acheson (Clarkson Potter, $35.00 – here’s my complete review)

The recipe:  Leek fonduta

Why I tried itOne 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?


Leek fonduta
Serves 4

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)