Leek “Noodles” with Crème Fraîche and Hazelnut Oil
10 medium leeks
About 1/3 cup crème fraîche, or more to taste
1 teaspoon roasted hazelnut oil, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Trim the vegetables. Trim the roots and tough green tops from the leeks, leaving about 1 inch of pale green. Slice each lengthwise into quarters; then slice each quarter in half again, to make thin strips. Rinse the leeks in several changes of cold water to remove any grit; drain well.
Pan–steam the vegetables. Place the leeks in a large heavy skillet; add enough water to come halfway up the leeks. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and cook, tossing occasionally, until the leeks are almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add salt to taste, uncover, and continue cooking, tossing frequently to separate the strands, until the leeks are very tender, a few minutes longer. Holding the leeks back with the lid, tilt the pan over the sink to let any remaining water drain away.
Dress the vegetables with a mellow fat and hazelnut oil. Place the pan of leeks back on the burner over moderate heat, tossing frequently to let any residual water evaporate, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and continue simmering the leeks, tossing them frequently. At first the crème fraîche will look watery; gradually, it will thicken again to make a luxurious coating on the leeks. Stir in the hazelnut oil and adjust the seasoning, adding freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve at once.
Copyright© 2006 by Sally Schneider. Used by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form whatsoever or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of William Morrow.