We have leeks ready for harvest!
What a wonderful relative of garlic and onions. Delicate. Mild. Fun to cook with…in fact, here are some recipes on my radar to try:
Leek, Bacon, & Gruyere Crustless Quiche
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 ounces thinly sliced bacon, 6 to 8 slices
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups half-and-half
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
4 ounces grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese, about 1 cup
1. Trim the root of the leek, leaving ends intact to hold the leaves together, then halve lengthwise. Rinse well under running water to flush out any grit trapped between the leaves. Cut each half into 3-inch lengths, keeping leaves together. Put leeks in a large skillet with water to cover and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium heat until the leeks are tender, about 6 minutes. Drain the excess water, add 2 tablespoons butter, and cook over medium heat until the leek edges are golden brown and sweet.
2. Cook the bacon in a medium skillet, until just crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie pan with 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle the grated Parmesan evenly on top. Put pan on a baking sheet.
4. Whisk the half-and-half, eggs and yolks in large glass measuring cup. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Spread half the Gruyere evenly in the pan, crumble the bacon on top; repeat with remaining cheese. Place the leeks, browned side up, on the cheese and pour the custard over the fillings.
5. Bake until the quiche is just set in the center, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before serving.
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Leek and Olive Tart with Two Cheeses
15 to 20 baby leeks or 3 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 box (14 ounces) frozen puff pastry, such as Dufour, thawed
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Scant 1/4 cup Nicoise olives, pitted
4 ounces Pave d’Affinois or other soft-ripened cheese (such as Camembert or Perail), thinly sliced (I think I will go for some feta)
1. If using baby leeks, halve lengthwise and trim to about 3 inches long. If using regular leeks, cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces; halve each piece lengthwise, then cut into 3/8-inch-thick strips (about 5 cups). Rinse well, and drain; set aside.
2. Melt butter with oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender but not browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in thyme. Leeks can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before assembling tart.
3. Cut or roll out pastry to a 6-by-14-inch rectangle; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (reserve remaining pastry for another use). Score a 3/4-inch border. Brush with egg wash; sprinkle with Parmesan. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake pastry until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and press center area with a metal spatula. Arrange leeks end to end in rows within border of pastry. Scatter olives over leeks. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes. If bottom is soft, bake 3 to 5 minutes more.
5. Remove tart from oven, and arrange soft cheese over top. Using an offset spatula, slide tart onto a wire rack; let cool slightly. Cut into pieces; serve warm or at room temperature (tart can stand at room temperature up to 1 hour).