Monday, 17 October 2011

Luscious Leeks

I really, and I mean REALLY, love leeks.  I adore them and would happily eat them, cooked in all sorts of ways, several times a week.  I rather rate them, too, chopped raw into salads in place of spring (or aren't we now supposed to say 'salad') onions.  Leek soup is fab and there is no easier, nor lovelier, side dish to a roast chicken than a tin of chunked up leeks, roasted with a little oil and some chestnut mushrooms chucked in halfway through cooking.  Anyway, I digress...

I remember eating something rather similar to this as a child, though only vaguely.  'Baby' (i.e. early) leeks wrapped in prosciutto, with hollandaise sauce was also quite a regular first course for entertaining in my newlywed girl-about-the-kitchen days.  Leeks and ham, or bacon, are a marvellous double act in whatever guise you choose.  See also:

Leeks with Ham & Cheese

I like to use 'Black Forest Ham' in cooking more and more these day; I love the smoky flavour and find it drier and less greasy than a lot of cured hams.  It tends to be cheaper than prosciutto too, which is always nice these days!

6 slim leeks, washed, ends trimmed and cut into thirds (and see picture)
50ml dry vermouth
9 slices of ham, halved (and see above)
75g butter, plus some for greasing the dish
50g plain flour
1 tsp mustard powder
400ml milk
125ml double cream
50g strong Cheddar cheese, grated
100g fresh (i.e. stale) breadcrumbs
100g Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 180°c.  Put the chunked up leeks in a big pan, slosh in the vermouth and top up with water.  Bring to the boil and cook until just tender.  Drain and set aside.  Melt the butter in the same saucepan, then stir in the flour and mustard powder.  Cook briefly, then pour in the milk and cream, stirring continuously.  Simmer until thickened, then add the cheese, remove from the heat and whisk like b**gery, until the cheese has completely melted into the sauce.

Wrap each chunk of leek in a piece of ham and arrange these little parcels in a reasonably shallow ovenproof dish which you have greased with a little lump of butter.  Pour the cheese sauce over the top and smooth it out as best you can.  Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together, add a few grindings of black pepper, then scatter these over the dish.  Bake for 25 minutes.

I rather like a bit of salad with this but, apparently, I'm weird.... (how rude!)
Cath xx

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails