Monday, September 22, 2008

Leek House

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.


Moonbear said...

Leek House. Gawd you're so literary Cookie!
Enjoy eating the young over there.

Greg said...

anything with copious amounts of butter makes me happy.

Chilebrown said...

Ms. Goofy sat down at the Coffee booth yesterday and started to cry. I figured it was because you did not show.No,It was because she still had a Micro piece of Bhut Jolokia under her fingernail.

Dagny said...

Love me some leeks. Oooo. Now I'm going to have to do the trout stuffed with leeks and poached in riesling. Especially since I haven't tortured the cats in some time.

The Spiteful Chef said...

I know I've become somewhat predictably produce impoverished and whiney about it, but guess how many baby leeks are here? Zero. Baby humans, however, are everywhere. Far more than than can be afforded. Do you think they'd make decent mashed potatoes?

dancingmorgan mouse said...

Spiteful Chef, Mr Swift would approve of the bebe human idea.

I've run out of room in the teeny vegie garden, I may have to bung some leeks into the corners somewhere though.

Tina said...

Ooh, I love champ. And colcannon. And anything else that involves mashed potatoes and a dairy's worth of butter with *just enough* greenery that I try to convince myself it's healthy.

Zoomie said...

Dagny, that sounds sooooo delicious! And, Cookiecrumb, yours makes my half-Irish heart swell with pride - and glee! Hungry here!

cookiecrumb said...

Moonbear: And what will you have with your Martini Chuzzlewit. Olive or twist?

Greg: butterbutterbutter

ChileBrown: So sorry to have stood you up. Stop torturing your wife, eh?

Dagny: That sounds unbelievably good. Poor kitties!

Spitey: I was exiled in Florida for a spell, and there wasn't any interesting food there either. You have my sympathy. Please try to garden!!!
I was going to make a Jonathan Swift remark here, but Morgan beat me to it. :)

Morgan: Can't you just dig out some sod for a bed? We garden directly in our lawn. Heh. Could feed a small army.

Tina: Yes, those bitty green bits make it healthy. It's like Jerry Seinfeld's wife sneaking spinach into the brownies. All's well.

Zoomie: {cue the dulcimer and Uilleann pipes}
Thank you!

sillysausage said...

leek tartare. Put it on yer radar!

tammy said...

You know me and growing things, but if I ever get the opportunity, I will surely try that.

cook eat FRET said...

fingers in ears

dancingmorgan mouse said...

Cookie - we don't have any lawn! Well there's a hanky sized bit at the front but not enough sun get there.
Nope, Mr Brown is simply going to have to dig up some of that ghastly concrete! Quickly, before he get's too old.

Catherine said...

I sense a new culinary trend: baby leek tips! Feel free to give me a call if your overspoilt with leeks!

Any Little Reason said...

That looks so comforting! Can't go wrong with potatoes, leeks, and butter.

maggie said...

yum! that's sounds great.

kudzu said...

Just reading about this makes me want to pat my tummy.

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: (I mean Sillysausage! Silly me)
I will grow a dedicated plot of leeks for you.
And I will try the leek tartare. Thanks for the reminder.

Tammy: I'm afraid this is not farmers market food; strictly garden. Or! I just had a bright idea. Maybe you could get these from your nursery.

ceF: Are you jealous?

Morgan: Give him a sledge hammer for Christmas.

Catherine: I have a more immediate delivery system in mind. See you tonight.

Any Little Reason: And my other secret? We make the mashed potatoes with buttermilk. Mmmmm.

Maggie: We have special plans for the leftovers. Crazy, but special.

Kudzu: Exactly! That's the exact gesture this food leads to.

Eugenia said...

Don't you just love playing with windfall and other harvest goodies that have got to go? I could see myself doing chive champ. With Hungarian pepper sauce. Oh yeah.

I love your blog!

The Spiteful Chef said...

A garden of babies? Where I come from we call that "pregnancy resulting from fertility treatments." I've seen John and Kate Plus 8, and I can tell you I want none of it. I'm offended by your immodest proposal.

The Spiteful Chef said...

Kidding, of course. I've heard of this phenomenon called "being offended," but have never directly experienced it. I do feel a decidedly uncomfortable twinge in the corner of my head whenever I hear Sarah Palin speak. I think that's the closest I've come.