A few years back I planted leeks in the garden. They grew well; only never having planted leeks before I was uncertain when to pull them, so some sprouted bulbs and sent their seeds off to populate another crop.
Well, the babies sprouted everywhere. Since I hate to kill little baby plants I dug them up, gave bunches away, and painstakingly separated the rest and planted them. This tedious task took hours and I was skeptical about the value of my effort.
No more skepticism here! The leeks have given us wonderful treats all winter long. Now as we head into spring, they are beginning to get that look about them, as if they are going to send up a gorgeous flower, so I pulled them all. Not because I don’t want flowers and more baby leeks, but because I am TOTALLY addicted to crispy leeks!!
I have them in everything, if they make it to the dish, because I often sauté them in olive oil until crispy, add a little salt and they just disappear!
Since pulling them, I have a drawer full of leeks. I have also been on an upswing of creativity in the kitchen, instead of the rut I was in prior to the leek harvest. Tonight, I created an AMAZING dish. It was so yummy; I want to make it again. Maybe for breakfastJ! I thought I would send it on so you all could enjoy it as well.
Wilted spinach salad with leeks, fennel and almonds
- 1 leek cut into thin rounds
- Sprinkle of salt
- Half a bulb of fennel thickly shaved ¼ “
- 1/3 c slivered almonds
- Sprinkle of salt
- ¼ c basil, chopped
- 1 bunch spinach, washed
- ¼ lemon (or more to taste)
- Pepper to taste
Pour 2 tbs. olive oil into a sauté pan (This amount is an estimate, as I rarely measure and have been accused at times of overusing both salt and olive oil. So feel free to add more if your leeks suck up the oil!).
Add leeks. Sauté over medium heat until they start to get crispy and separate about 3 minutes give or take depending on your heat and pan, add a sprinkle of salt.
Add another tbs. olive oil (this is part of your dressing) along with the fennel and almonds. Again, let them cook over medium heat until some of the fennel pieces and almonds are browned. Add another sprinkle of salt and the basil. Stir until combined and the basil starts to wilt, 30 seconds to a minute.
Turn heat off, add spinach and cover pan. Let spinach wilt. Once slightly wilted, mix to cover spinach with leek/fennel mixture. This should soften the rest of the spinach if not already wilted. Squeeze lemon over mixture. Stir. Add pepper to taste.
Enjoy! You may want to make a double recipe as it is hard to share!