And when they’re simply sweated- not browned or caramelized; just sweated- with a bit of salt for 40 minutes or so in nothing more than butter, leeks turn sweet and fragrant and hauntingly delicious, into the sort of side dish that dinner guests demand the recipe for. (Tip: do them under a parchment paper lid. It’s easy. Look it up.)
Yet my favourite leek recipe uses them as a stand-in for fettucine, in a creamy, egg and pancetta-napped leek carbonara.
You start by cutting leeks into fettucine-like strips, then blanch them in salt water for 30 seconds. (See related recipe.) After that you use them much like you’d use wheat-flour pasta, tossing the leek (noodles) with softened onion and a bit of pancetta, then some pasta water and egg yolks, a quick squeeze of lemon and a blizzard of Parmesan cheese.
It’s creamy and eggy and porky and cheesy -- as voluptuous-tasting as any simple pasta dish has any right in the world to be. But the leeks give it something more than that. They give it understated class and character, mellow punch and complex vegetal roundness.
What have you just finished reading?
What are you reading now?
Yangsze Choo, The Ghost Bride. Chinese families in Malaysia in the 19th century, and I refuse to read even the cover blurbs so as not to find out even what kind of novel it is- fantasy? romance? hist.fic?
Perennially, The Science of Discworld and Pema Chodron's latest, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change; and still, The Difference Engine
What will you read next?
Mori Kaoru, A Bride's Story, the first two volumes of which are on hold for me at the library.