My first room mate, when I was eighteen, dubbed me "the patron saint of unloved vegetables." And she wasn't wrong. I haven't met root nor radish, nor any other such character that I haven't entirely adored.
Though I equate these iconic French favorites with Spring, in truth I eat them all throughout the year. Why? Because they are fabulous. Naturally creamy when cooked, they are light, easy on the body, not starchy, and bring the magic of fire, protection, and physical vitality.
It is said that they are the French woman's secret to staying slim. Is it true? Who knows, mes beautés. Light, digestible fare and nutrient-rich vegetables are always a good thing. I do know for certain that leeks boost the immune system, protect the heart, fortify the vision, provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and act as a diuretic. Now, that's a beauty food.
So let's get to a recipe, yes? If you have never eaten leeks, my creamy classic will leave you wanting more...
1 tablespoon vegan butter (I use Myoko's European Style Lightly Salted, exclusively)
2 large leeks, washed, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
2 tablespoons finely grated vegan Parmesan
Celtic sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
If you have never navigated a leek before, be sure to removed the outer layers and wash them well. Then thoroughly clean the inner layers. Trim and discard the rounded end, and any tough, dark green ends. Slice them thinly.
In a lidded sauté pan, melt the butter on a low flame, then add the leeks. Stir, allowing the butter to coat the leeks well (if you wanted to add more butter, I wouldn't tell a soul.) Add the water, cover, and allow the leeks to cook down until they are completely soft and beautifully tender - maybe fifteen minutes? Add the plant milk and vegan cheese, a pinch of Celtic sea salt and a generous grind of fresh pepper, stir well to warm it all through, then serve.
This makes a gorgeous bed for roasted vegetables (or under fish or chicken if you are a meat eater), but I love it all on it's own, as the star of mon dîner, with a wild greens salad and a glass of chilled white as a stellar supporting cast. Mes amours, this dish has everything: a warm, creamy, slightly caramelized allure, a hint of cheese, and a reminder to eat slowly, sensually, to enjoy every bite. Comfort food has never been so sexy.