In the general flurry of celebrations last week I missed out on St David’s Day (the patron saint of Wales) and the opportunity to write about leeks. Leeks tend to excite a certain amount of derision but I think they’re a fabulous vegetable, much milder, subtler and sweeter than onion and much more sympathetic to a fine white wine (for I think they go much better with a white wine than a red one).
They have a particular affinity with eggs and cheese - and with salmon, as I re-discovered the other day. I simply trimmed and cleaned the leeks thoroughly, sliced them finely, rinsed them again in a colander (all this necessary because leeks can be gritty) then sauteed them over a low heat in a mixture of light olive oil and butter for about 5 minutes until soft. Then I added a couple of tablespoons of crème fraîche and warmed them through to accompany two simply cooked fillets of salmon and a few new potatoes.
With it we drank a glass of the extraordinarily inexpensive Chardonnay we picked up from the co-op at Florensac the other day which made a very decent pairing with both the salmon and the creamy leeks but it would certainly have supported a much better bottle. Any cool climate Chardonnay with good acidity rather than tropical fruit or buttery oak would do.
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