Roasted Baby Leeks with Thyme

Baby leeks dressed up in olive oil, garlic and thyme.

Baby leeks are just small leeks and there are two things that are exciting about them: a) the fact that they haven’t had the time to develop many green leaves or the fibrous structure that can sometimes make them stringy, and b) they’re definitely sweeter.   Also, Dana and I have an abundant crop of baby leeks since we planted them from seed, late in the season.  We harvested some yesterday and will pull the rest out soon, with pictures to follow, of course!

The purpose of quickly boiling them in water and then roasting them, as I’ve done in this recipe, is to make them deliciously soft and then to caramelize them so they develop a robustness that makes them wonderful served over or next to fish and meat. They will also add an interesting flavor to pastas or soups. You can do everything in the method below in advance apart from roasting them, so when it’s time to eat, all you need to do is flash them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

20 baby leeks
olive oil
red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

Procedure:

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Lightly trim both ends and peel back the first or second layer of leaves and discard.

Drop the leeks in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes to soften – this is called blanching.

Drain them well (if there’s too much water in them they won’t roast properly) and toss in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, the chopped thyme leaves and the garlic.

Arrange the leeks in one layer in a baking pan or earthenware dish and roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes until golden and almost caramelized. Keep your eye on them – they will go from golden to burned quickly!

Serve as a side, with fish or meat, or add to a soup before you puree it for extra amazing flavor.

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver in his book Cook With Jamie

Happy Thanksgiving!

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