Leeks and Apples
This weekend I'll be slow-roasting a pork shoulder for a birthday dinner, and I'd like to use leeks as a side dish, since I have them in my garden. I was thinking of combining the leeks with apples, perhaps with a little cream. Any suggestions or tips for a leek side dish would be much appreciated. (And thanks for all the information on this board regarding slow roasting...)
Have you ever had raw leeks as a salad? Delish, but not for the faint of palates---especially if the leeks are old and strongly onion-y. But since they're from your garden, you can pick fresh, tender leeks which will be mild and delish for all palates.
You can halve the leeks and slice in half-moons if they're large, or go with full ringlets if they're small leeks. You want a thin slice, think the width of raw onion you'd cut for adding to a salad.
--Slice both the green and the white parts of the leek.
--Add red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar, probably in a 3:1 ratio of red wine to apple cider.
--Add some EVOO (you don't need lots, definitely not twice the amount of vinegar as in traditional V&O dressings), salt, and a touch of freshly ground pepper. Mix well.
--Let stand for at least 30 min, stirring every now and again: the longer it stands, the tangier the leeks get as the absorb more of the vinegar. You also can go a little lighter on the salt and garnish it with kalamata olives.
Leek salad is a traditional Balkan dish during the great fast before Easter. (Obviously it coincides with tender, spring leeks coming up.) On the days where oil is not allowed, people eat this salad sans oil. The first time I made it for my American SO, he was shocked at how delicious this simple preparation was. I can't count how many times he's come home from the store with leeks just so he can have this salad. :)
Sliced leeks baked in the oven with kalamata olives is another traditional preparation, but I like the crunch of the raw leek and the tang of the vinegar better. I can see that going very nicely with pork if you don't mind having a cold side.
Good luck, and enjoy your leeks!
Sounds like you've got a nice combination brewing...can think of all sorts of things to do to add/change the mix....for example, add fresh marjoram to the combo you suggest above, maybe some butter....or saute w/EVOO some leeks and kale with fennel, fennel seeds and/or anise seeds and/or celery seeds, maybe some lemon...you get a combination sharp/sweet flavor with this that may contrast nicely with the sweetness of the pork, but again, you've got a nice idea brewing already!
Happy Bday and happy cooking/dining!