Leeks au gratin

Husband-Gusto loves leeks with a passion but I am not so keen. However, yesterday on my evening commute home I eavesdropped overheard one woman telling her friend about a meal out they had that week, which featured leeks au gratin and which had fried breadcrumbs on top. Hmmm. Leeks! With Cheese! And Crunchy Bits! I thought that sounded pretty good so started with that as an idea for a side dish for this evening and then built the rest of the meal around it. In the end we decided to go for roast pork, apple sauce, leeks with crunchy bits and veg.

I bought five good sized leeks, cut the tops off, cut them lengthways and layered them in an oven proof dish. Then I poured boiling water over them and soaked the leeks for an hour, changing the water twice. I did not want to put the leeks on the hob and overcook them, so just soaked them. Next time though I think I will boil for 5 minutes or so, as they were still a little crunchy.

After this I made a normal white sauce (butter, flour and milk, stirring hard so that it was smooth.) When the white sauce was ready I drained the leeks and poured the sauce over it. Then added grated cheese.

I then put this dish in the oven and baked it at 220 Celsius for 25 minutes, added homemade breadcrumbs (brown bread, toasted, attacked with a rolling pin and sprinkled). After the baking I turned the grill up, dotted the top with splotches of butter and grilled for about 2 minutes.

This was quite okay. I thought they were acceptable, H-G thought they were ‘great but perhaps a bit of mustard would have gone well’, B-G ate his quite happily. So, it may well be that cheesy leeks will become a staple in the Gusto household. (Perhaps.)

It must have been my day for eavesdropping. I also managed to insinuate myself into a conversation on the ferry that debated the merits of ‘The Anchor’ over ‘The Painter’s Arms’. If by any remote chance those people are reading, I hope you enjoyed your first visit in Cowes.

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