For some reason, Cranky bought an entire nursery's worth of baby leek plants.
We have this guy at the farmers market, very local, who grows seedlings and also sells grown-up food he grows. Cranky wanted some leeklings. The guy said he'd trot some over next week.
Well. Next week, there are six miniature plastic seedling planters at the market, each filled with about 60 baby leeks. Cranky bought the entire load. I don't know why. That's my Cranky.
OK. They went into the ground and started their flourishing behavior; lovely. But they are so densely planted that we're having to thin out several potential leeks, lest they crowd and get stunted. We could transplant them to a bed elsewhere, I suppose, but I'm having trouble thinking we'll need 360 leeks this year. Also, they're hard to pull out of the dirt.
A little detour here: When Cranky went back to buy the leeklings that week, the bearded guy pinched off one of the tender green tops and popped it into his mouth, just to make sure these were the leeks (and not the chives).
You can eat the green tops of leeks?
YES, you can. While they're immature. They resemble chives, but have their own zingy, tangy flavor. Later, when they become grown-up leeks, the tops will have mutated into those flat, fibrous fronds. The ones recipes always tell you not to use.
Here's my thinking. I've got this "farm" in my backyard, and it needs tending. Pruning. Thinning. And Mr. Bearded Guy just proved to me that you can eat the tops of baby leeks.
Well. We also have potatoes in the house. Time to eat them (and maybe try planting the ones that have grown eyes; not sure if I can do that in fall, but I'll experiment). So I thought: Champ!
We "harvested" (or thinned out) several leek tops, tender, hollow, spritely. Chopped them and gave them a quick saute.
Boiled and mashed the potatoes. (Copious amounts of butter, naturally. This is an Irish dish!)
Stirred this fragrant mess together, and did a silly American thing: we broiled it for some color.
The flavor was magnificent.
I doubt many of you will be able to replicate this recipe.
But if you grow baby leeks, please try eating the tender tops while you can.