So last week I talked about my love affair with salsify, and this week I thought that I’d up that by adding another of my often unsung heroes: leeks. A lot of people underestimate how nutritious leeks and onions are for you and view them as purely a flavour enhancer. Well, obviously they fulfill that role rather well, but next time you reach for a leek, grab one or two more. They are full of vitamin A and K, have good levels of B vitamins, are high in fibre and contain calcium, magnesium and iron as well as several other vital minerals. Particularly useful at this time of year (when they happen to be at their finest) leeks also provide brilliant anti-inflammatory action, and calm the respiratory tract so helping cold and flu sufferers.
This week, I decided, in all the rush to Christmas, and with all the over indulging that goes with it, that I’d quickly knock up something simple that showed off these two delicious seasonal ingredients to their best advantage. That’s short hand for ‘not do much with them and get them on the table as soon as possible’, but luckily these are two ingredients that like that kind of treatment as much as I like doling it out. Don’t just take my word for it though, have a go at it yourself. You can have a delicious, healthy dinner on the table in a very un-labour intensive half an hour leaving much more time for wrapping those presents.
Leek and Salsify Orzo
Around 4 salsify
3 cloves of garlic
A tbsp fresh thyme
A glass of dry white wine
Good quality veg stock
Salt and pepper
fresh lemon juice
A couple of tbsps capers to serve
Pecorino cheese (parmesan would be fine here, I just prefer the pecorino)
Around 60g per person Orzo (that’s quite generous)
Firstly, crush your garlic and leave to one side.
Peel the salsify, slice and put on to simmer for around 15- 20 minutes. Drain it when it is almost cooked (it could take longer if you have cut it bigger)
Slice your washed leeks and soften with the thyme in some olive oil for the same amount of time as the salsify is cooking. When the salsify is done, throw in the garlic and add the cooked salsify. Pour over the white wine and turn up the heat until it is reduced right down.
Meanwhile cook your orzo according to the packet instructions and in good quality vegetable stock. When it is done, strain and reserve some of the cooking liquid then toss through the leek and salsify mixture and check the seasoning. Add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid to loosen it up a bit.
Pour over some freshly squeezed lemon juice, capers and the pecorino. Drizzle with olive oil, and serve. Enjoy!
A quick note: If you can’t get any salsify don’t panic, you could always use another root veg. I think kohlrabi would work well here, although the flavour would be slightly different. Feel free to experiment and let me know how you got on!