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Olive-Oil-Braised Leeks with Thyme

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Serves 4

  • by Tamar Adler from Fine Cooking
    Issue 115

The leeks’ delicate flavor deepens as they cook, becoming sweet, robust, and complex. Leeks can be gritty, so wash them well before cooking.

  • 2 lb. leeks (about 5 medium), white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise
  • 12 small sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Kosher salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Arrange the leek halves cut side down in a snug single layer in a shallow 8-inch square baking dish. Nestle the thyme sprigs among the leeks. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, wine, and 1 Tbs. water and drizzle over the leeks. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Braise the leeks in the oven until completely tender and easy to pierce with a fork, about 45 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue to braise until the leeks are caramelized, about 15 minutes more. Remove the thyme sprigs and serve the leeks warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead Tips

The leeks will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Serving Suggestions

Make a light lunch: Chill, drizzle with mustard vinaigrette, and serve with a softly boiled egg and a piece of rustic bread.

Layer for an appetizer: Slice lengthwise into a few pieces, drizzle with fresh lemon juice, sprinkle with coarsely chopped parsley, and serve layered with fresh mozzarella.

Use to top fish: Coarsely chop and spoon over pan-seared striped bass or halibut.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 180; Fat (g): 14; Fat Calories (kcal): 120; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 14; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 160; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

These are wonderful! They are even better the next day. I removed the dry top layer and reheated them at 400 for 30 minutes, covered. They became more caramelized and delicious. They're also good chilled with a vinaigrette as suggested.

I love this recipe i have made it 5 or 6 times, its an easy recipe for weekdays and great for brunch the following day.

I love this recipe i have made it 5 or 6 times, its an easy recipe for weekdays and great for brunch the following day.

I tried this last night and was really looking forward to the results given the various reviews and our love of leeks. However, as one reviewer had noted, the top layers turned out a little tough and chewy. This may have been due to keeping the lid off for 15 minutes to get the carmelization. Next time I'll try it for 5-10 minutes and possibly use thicker/larger leeks.

My husband came home from work while this was cooking in the oven and the aroma made him hungry. We had it with pan-seared tilapia and it was delicious. Such a simple recipe too. I didn't realize just how good leeks could be. This is the perfect recipe to bring out its flavor. We didn't have any leftovers this time so I'm definitely getting more leeks next time.

An absolutely fantastic recipe. I enjoyed the leeks with the simple braise, but also had them with the suggested egg and mustard vinaigrette. It was eyes-roll-back-in-your-head delicious. You can read my full review at: http://bit.ly/zDhyZ0

Really good, although my leeks did not turn the beautiful golden colour shown and the very top leek leaf/sheet turned paper-crisp. The remaining leek layers were buttery soft and delicious.I'm looking forward to trying this cold tomorrow.

No matter how many leeks I use, there are never enough to last until dinner. As soon as these come out of the oven I can't stop "sampling" them. And then they're gone! Love, love, LOVE this recipe!

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