Roasted Leeks en Papillote

This is a riff on a dish I found in Vegetables A to Z by Elizabeth Schneider. The result is sublime. I find it interesting to note the changes in flavor as I eat the different colors of the leek, from the white to the palest green to the more uniform green. Try these as a starter or have as a side with roast chicken, salmon, or braised beef.

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium leeks, trimmed of most of the greens, split lengthwise, cleaned, and cut into 1 inch lengths
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4 inch slices
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Olive oil as needed
Salt (such as Maldon or other coarse grained salt) and pepper

METHOD:

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Line half sheet baking pan with 18 inch sheet of parchment paper and lightly oil it.

Place the leek pieces onto the middle of one half of the paper, then scatter the carrots over that. Try to fit them into a single layer. Drizzle or spritz with a little more oil, then scatter the herbs over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.

Fold the paper over and crimp the edges starting at one corner next to the fold, tightly sealing the packet all the way around. Shake the packet to flatten out the contents.

Place in the middle of the hot oven and cook for 20 minutes. This should be sufficient to cook the leeks until they are entirely tender, but open the packet carefully to check so you can re-seal it for further cooking if need be. (Once you have done this and know the recipe/your oven, this step probably won’t be necessary.) Once the leeks are done, open the packet and serve the leeks hot.

Chef’s Notes and Tips:

You can gussy up this dish in many ways.

  • If serving with fish, try adding some lemon juice or white wine when sealing, or drizzle with lemon when you serve them.
  • You could add capers to the packet, or various types of mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms would cook in the allotted time, as would thinly shaved button mushrooms. Sauté thicker mushrooms before and add them in.
  • You could also add asparagus, or a couple drops of truffle oil.

YIELD: Serves 4

SOURCE: Recipe inspired by Elizabeth Schneider and adapted by Chef Andrew Cohen

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