This time of year is difficult for me to be creative and inventive in the kitchen. On one hand, the changing seasons make me crave new tastes and textures. On the other hand, here in Minnesota there's no fresh local produce yet and there's too much temptation to go out and socialize instead of staying home to cook. So, I guess I'm trying to explain why the posts are lighter lately and hope you understand.
Spring leeks are mild and sweet and I read somewhere that's because they spend the whole winter in the frozen ground. I love the delicate flavor of leeks and wanted to highlight that in this spring dinner so I paired leeks with cream and peas and used that as a base for grilled salmon.
This is dead simple and so yummy. You can make this with your eyes closed and your guests will be amazed at how elegant you are!
I had a ton of creamed leeks leftover so I made a bonus round 2 recipe: Creamed Leek Pasta. Add the creamed leeks to cooked whole wheat spaghetti, add a cup of starchy pasta cooking liquid and a cup of grated parmesan cheese. Awesome.
5 leeks, white and light green parts only
1 cup frozen green peas, optional
2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp butter (or any combination of the two)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
squirt of fresh lemon juice, optional
Recipe Note: Leeks are the only vegetable I know of that you cut first and clean second, because of the dirt that grows into the layers. To clean, remove the tough dark green ends and the hairy root end. Slice the long way in half, then cut into half moons. Add the cut leeks to a big bowl of cold water and swish to release the dirt, which should sink to the bottom. Scoop out the leeks and shake or pat them dry before adding them to your skillet.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add your butter and/or olive oil. When it's hot, add your cleaned leeks and some salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until leeks are softened. Add cream and peas and cook another 5 minutes or so until cream slightly thickens. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.
Serve under fish or chicken, or with pasta and parmesan cheese. Or just eat a bowl of it like this. Really, you can't go wrong.
ONE YEAR AGO: Tofu McNuggets
TWO YEARS AGO: Green Bean and Tuna Salad