Wednesday, 6. January 2010
Somehow my salt-womb pork won the last Culinary Throwdown so I am hosting the first Culinary Challenge of 2010.
Of all the ingredients, themes, techniques, food-related things I could have chosen, I picked leeks.
A million things went through my mind – scallops, artichokes, chocolate, lemon, garlic, coffee – things I LOVE.
But, they’re all things I know and have tried. I have been curious as to what a leek is and how you cook with it, so I picked leeks hoping to learn a thing or two. I am also curious about braising, poaching fish in olive oil and molecular gastronomy, but I wasn’t quite ready to complicate things. And, let’s be honest, I don’t own a dry ice machine.
My mom sent me a recipe the same day I posted that leeks were the theme, so I decided to use it. I have mostly heard of leeks being used to make soup, so that’s what I was going to do, but the following recipe sounded simple and yummy.
The recipe is from Food and Wine Magazine.
Luckily for me, there were very few ingredients. That was nice considering I was still trying to recover from NYE and the Rose Bowl.
You will notice that The Sanch is NOWHERE to be found. That’s because he heard the word “Leeks” and was like, “Fuck that. Call me next time when there’s pork, beef, tuna or cheese”.
The leeks were full of dirt, so the first order of business was to thoroughly rinse them. I then sliced them as thin as I could and placed them in a deep skillet over moderate heat. By the way, why does the recipe say, “moderate” heat? Is moderate medium? Or is moderate low? Or is it medium-low? Is this a Swedish recipe?
For the second challenge in a row, my recipe used heavy cream. I figured if the leeks tasted like poo, the heavy cream would totally make up for it. So, I dumped cream on the leeks, added some spinach, salt and pepper. I mixed the creamy-leek sauce with the pasta and added some basil.
Not the most exciting plate, but it really did taste good. The leeks were quite stringy and since Laef as never eaten a leek either he was examining everything and asked “Oooohhh…is this Parmesan cheese?”
How bad do you think I felt when I had to tell him it was a leek? He said he liked it, but he will eat pretty much anything. I could see making this again mainly because it was super, super easy and provided us leftovers. You really can’t go wrong with pasta mixed in cream.
Fusilli with Creamed Leek and Spinach
Total: 25 minutes 4 servings
3/4 lb. fusilli pasta
1 1.2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 c. heavy cream
4 c. baby spinach (4 oz.), coarsely chopped
1/2 c. lightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In lg. pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta ’til al dente, then drain.
2. Meanwhile, in lg., deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the leek and cover over moderate heat until softened, about 10 min. Add the cream and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 5 min. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the cooked fusilli to the skillet and toss over moderately low heat until coated with the leek sauce, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add the chopped basil, and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve.