When leeks appear in the veg box, I tend to go through the motions. I use them as an replacement for onions, or make leek and potato soup. Very straightforward. Tried and tested. On a lockdown Saturday afternoon they became the main feature of a farinata.
Despite being in lockdown and having more time to spend in the kitchen, I still find myself trying to keep up with my hunger and dinner is too often dictated by the necessity to make something quickly to satisfy it. This was an exercise in slowing down, taking the time needed to let the farinata mix rest, allowing the leeks to slowly sweat and become soft and sweet. The end result is a deep savouryness but with a backnote of beautiful sweetness from the leeks. I wish I could say that I portioned the end result and have been eating cold leftovers for lunches or snacks. I demolished it in one sitting. Lesson - you do not need a lot of ingredients to make something sing.
The salad, too, is simple. Just a few ingredients that go well together and given an uplift by a zingy, citrus dressing.
1 medium sized leek
4 tbsp gram flour
salt and pepper
for the salad
a handful of watercress
a handful of walnuts
for the dressing
3tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper
Mix the gram flour with enough water to make a light batter and leave to rest for at least an hour (overnight if you can).
Cut the leek in half lengthways and rinse the dirt away under the tap. Cut each half again lengthways and then slice into small pieces along the length.
Add a tbsp of olive oil to a pan and allow the leeks to sweat over a low heat for fifteen minutes to soften. Stir in a pinch of nutmeg. Add a splash of water and cover and cook for another five minutes.
Add the farinata mix and cook for about five minutes until it starts to become firm. Flip the pancake and cook for another five to ten minutes until it takes on a golden colour and the edges are crisp and coming away from the pan.
Put the salad ingredients together in a bowl and toss. Mix the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the salad.
Cut the farinata into slices and serve with the salad.