INVENTIONS + GUESSWORK

I don’t know what I was thinking when I set out to make a leek gratin. In my mind, it would be perfectly feasible to bake hundreds of perfectly concentric leek discs, each one lovingly nestled into the next. It would be a cinch. Yet as soon as I started rinsing the thousands of tiny leek half moons coated in minuscule pieces of grit that soon began to overflow out of my sink, I know the gratin would be a huge, messy tangle of vegetables. I’m still not even sure if I would call this a ‘leek gratin,’ but I guess it was still delicious.

Heaping cupfuls of (washed + dried) leek crescents are tossed in a buttered baking dish with garlic, olive oil, white wine, lemon, chicken stock, and cream. I also added some lemon zest, grated pecorino, red pepper flakes, and a bit of nutmeg. The mixture was topped with homemade breadcrumbs and tiny pats of butter and bubbled away for an hour in a 400 degree oven until golden brown and crispy.

We ate the leek gratin with a Swiss chard and onion frittata, and a red leaf lettuce salad with tamari almonds and a French vinaigrette. Maybe an inelegant gratin, but still delicious.

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