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Leeks with Buttered Bread Crumbs

Leeks with Buttered Bread Crumbs
Leeks, mild members of the onion family, come in all sizes, from slender stalks 1/2 inch in diameter to stocky ones 2 inches in diameter. For the best flavor and prettiest presentation, choose medium-size leeks about 1 inch in diameter.

Leeks trap the sandy soil in which they are grown. The best way to clean them is to trim off both ends, then spread out the layers a bit and hold them under running cold water. Shake off the excess water, but do not dry the leeks before roasting them. The dampness helps keep them moist.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. leeks (about 4), each about 1 inch in
      diameter, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh French bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Place the leeks, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with about 1 1/2 tsp. of the olive oil. Turn the leeks cut side up, push them close together and brush with the remaining 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with the wine and season generously with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, toss together the bread crumbs, cheese and butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Sprinkle evenly over the leeks. Roast the leeks, without turning, until they are tender when pierced with a knife, their edges are browned and the crumbs are toasted, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the leeks to a platter or individual plates. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Variation: To make Leeks with Seasoned Buttered Bread Crumbs, add 1 Tbs. minced fresh herb, such as thyme or marjoram, to the bread crumb mixture and toss to mix.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Roasting, by Rick Rodgers, Melanie Barnard & Bob & Colleen Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2004).