Hello again! C&K has been on vacation, mostly because of the kids being home. You know how THAT is, if you want to get any work done…They have had a vacation called Settimana Bianca, which translates as White Week – a beautiful way of defining a mid-term break, isn’t it? Set out ! Enjoy the snow! Go skiing!
We did not ski, but we did accomplish something really important – clearing out the kids’ room! We do this every 6 months or so, and every time we do so, we mysteriously have more stuff to get rid of than we did the previous time…did we really collect so much in 6 months? Ah. Each clean up is accompanied by a lot of debate, wheedling and sometimes tears. That half-bitten eraser is just the best! That car with 3 wheels is such fun! And oh mom you’ll never guess the things I can do with a broken watering can and spade left over from when I was 2! I have to be a combination of wicked witch and unctuous slave to get the negotiations over, and my black garbage bag filled.
This time I dug out (literally) a CD that had escaped my notice previously – an `educational’ one for toddlers. My boys are way much beyond being toddlers now so of course I was in a rush to bin it. On an impulse, I decided to play it, just to check it out. And out came a flood of memories…it was so hard to throw it away…so I ended up doing what I often complain my kids do…I put it in a box called `My Treasures’…if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So much for stern-mom-in-clean-up-mode.
How I enjoyed that CD. All day long I was humming a babyish song `patterns patterns all around, patterns all around…’ from a shape matching game on the CD. And of course you all know from my previous blog on fractals `What’s Math Got to do with it’ that I’m a total sucker for patterns.
So when it came to dinner time, of course I had to pander to the mood. Grilled leeks it had to be. The sweet, mild oniony taste, and the swirls, the stripes, the crunchy texture…it is one of my family’s favourite side dishes / salads and I’ve got to share it with you. And oh – this is another SS original.
For this dish I always use my dear stripey grill pan – that’s what creates the pattern. But it will taste great and look nice even if you don’t have one and use a regular heavy skillet.
SHRUTI’S STRIPEY LEEKS (Prep time 10 mins, cooking time 20 mins)
* Leeks – white and light green parts of 3 leeks (washed and carefully inspected for grit between the layers, sliced medium thick, slanting)
* Olive oil (or any other if you prefer) – 2 tbsps
* Lemon juice – a healthy squeeze
* Salt or fleur de sel
* Extra virgin olive oil (optional) – 2 tsps
– Heat up the pan / grill pan, add 1 tbsp oil and heat until smoking. OK this is not the most beautiful photo, but I did have to show you the pan ; )
– Arrange the leek slices on the pan in a single layer, and cook on medium heat for about 4 mins until brown grill marks appear on the underside. At this stage I’m usually tempted to constantly flip up the leeks to check if they are done, but patience is a better idea, it gets the job done.
– Once the underside is done, use 2 spatulas to flip over each of the slices, and grill the other side. This side will usually cook bit faster than the first, so keep an eye out for them getting burned!
– Once they are done, remove them carefully, and arrange them on a serving plate. There’s a bit of dexterity involved here – the look of the final dish comes from the leek slices remaining intact!
– You’ll probably need to do this in batches, which is where the 2nd tablespoon of oil might come in handy.
– This is the kind of time-flexible dish I love. Either serve it immediately with a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of salt/fleur de sel and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or keep it plain until ready to serve, then microwave slightly, add on the dressing, and present it to your diners.
Enjoy this visual treat!