Up until six or seven years ago, leeks were a mystery to me. Then, one day, I was out to lunch at a French restaurant and was convinced to try their signature dish, fish smothered in leek sauce. I was a little skeptical at first, but then I realized the taste of the leek sauce wasn’t entirely unfamiliar – it tasted like a milder version of a sauce made with onions. My untrained palate was pretty much on the mark, as leeks are actually close cousins of onions (and garlic). Although they are slightly sweeter and have a milder flavor than onions, the two can be used interchangeably in a number of dishes. Nutritionally, leeks are a good source of Vitamin C, folate, and iron, and an excellent source of Vitamins A and K. Leeks are tasty both raw and cooked; no matter how you prepare them, however, be sure to discard the green tops, as those are not edible.
2 heads cauliflower (about 3 ½ pounds), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup skim or 1% milk
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs (preferably whole wheat)
1 teaspoon butter or vegetable oil spread
⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the cauliflower until very soft, 12 to 15 minutes; drain.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is translucent and very soft, about 8 minutes.
- Using a food processor and working in batches, puree the cauliflower and the leek mixture with the milk.
- In a small skillet, melt the butter or vegetable oil spread over medium heat. Add the panko and toast, tossing, until golden.
- Top the puree with the toasted panko and the parsley.
Recipe adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray, November 2010