Leeks are often thought of as a “gourmet” ingredient and many people by-pass this vegetable because they are unsure what to do with it. Leeks are the mild members of the onion family and are impressive looking with their sturdy bright long green leaves and white bulbs. They have many uses including as a key ingredient in leek and potato soup, or chopped and sautéed like onions. I grow a lot of leeks in my garden and am always experimenting with new ways to use them. One day as I was washing the dirt from just harvested leeks, I decided to make a casserole with them. I was more than pleasantly surprised by the results.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup milk or Half & Half
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
- 1 ball (ounces) fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 6 medium size leeks, washed and leaves trimmed down to the lightest shade of green and cut crosswise into 2-inch long pieces and then lengthwise in half.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Brush a 9 x 13 casserole dish with one tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour to create a smooth paste.
- Slowly pour in the milk or Half & Half and continue whisking until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Off the heat, whisk in the dry mustard, salt, pepper and tarragon.
- Place the leeks cut side down close together in a single layer in the casserole dish (use two dishes if need be) and evenly pour the sauce over the leeks.
- Dot the top with the mozzarella and sprinkle on the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer or until the sauce is bubbly and the leeks are tender. Serve hot.
This recipe was featured on Season 22 - Episode 2209.