Sometimes, new ideas come to me because I am having a craving for a particular food or flavor. Other times, I end up with extra ingredients that I don’t want to waste. This weekend, I had given my husband a grocery list which included a leek. Yes, one leek, to use in a leek and artichoke frittata. The store he went to, however, only sold leeks in bunches of three. Three leeks?! What would I do with two extra? Soups or stews with leeks are an option, but I already had my menu sort of set for the week and plus, I wasn’t really in the mood. I’ve never prepared or eaten leeks simply on their own as a side dish or salad, but I have seen pictures and recipes, and I figured with two whole leeks and two of us, that would probably be a good thing to try. I found a few recipes online for inspiration to create my own for Wine-Braised Leeks with Lemon and Feta. We really enjoyed the flavors here and it was a different texture than what we were used to, but very nice for a light and springy side dish. We served the leeks with turkey cutlets which I had breaded with a mixture of almond meal and panko bread crumbs; the almond flavor worked nicely with the lemon in the leeks.
Wine-Braised Leeks with Lemon and Feta
2 medium or large leeks, tough outer leaves discarded and trimmed of a few inches at the dark green end; cut lengthwise into quarters
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigiot
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
salt, pepper, and herbs de provence
2 tbsp crumbled feta
In a shallow dish soak leeks in cold water to cover 15 minutes, rubbing occasionally to remove any grit. In a heavy skillet melt butter over moderate heat. Lift leeks out of the water and with water still clinging to them add to skillet. Cook leeks, stirring occasionally, five minutes and add wine, zest, and seasonings. Braise leeks, covered, 5 minutes, or until very tender, and serve with feta cheese.