Bright Green Leek Soup
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Crème fraîche is a thickened cream, similar to sour cream, which could be substituted.
• 6 medium leeks, about 3 lb.
• 4 tbsp. butter
• Salt and pepper
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• Pinch of cayenne
• 1/2 c. rice
• 8 c. hot chicken broth or water
• 10 oz. baby spinach, washed
• Grated nutmeg, to taste
• 1/2 c. crème fraîche (see Note)
• 2 tbsp. thinly sliced chives, for garnish
• 2 tbsp. thinly sliced tarragon, for garnish
Trim leeks of outer layer and stems. Chop white and tender green parts into 1/2-inch chunks (discard tough gray-green parts). Soak leeks in a large bowl of lukewarm water, swishing to dislodge sand. Drain and soak again, then lift leeks, leaving sediment behind.
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until leeks are wilted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, cayenne and rice and cook for 1 minute. Add hot broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer until rice is very soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely before proceeding.
Using a blender, purée raw spinach with cooled soup mixture. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve, discarding any fibrous solids. Adjust seasoning and add grated nutmeg. Thin with broth or water if necessary. Heat soup before serving, to preserve bright green color. Garnish with a tablespoon of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of chives and tarragon.
Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:
Calories 190 Fat 10 g Sodium 1,010 mg
Carbohydrates 23 g Saturated fat 5 g Calcium 114 mg
Protein 4 g Cholesterol 43 mg Dietary fiber 2 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 vegetable, ½ bread/starch, 2 fat.
Broiled Leeks Vinaigrette
Serves 4 to 6.
• 8 medium leeks, about 4 lb.
• 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• Salt and pepper
• 8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
• 2 c. coarse breadcrumbs
• 2 tbsp. chopped thyme
• 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
• 4 tbsp. chopped parsley, divided
• 3 hard-cooked eggs (9-minute eggs), roughly chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer.
Prepare the leeks: Trim leeks of outer layer and roots. Cut crosswise to divide leeks into white bottoms and green tops (remove and discard the tough gray-green parts). Soak leeks in a large bowl of lukewarm water, swishing to dislodge sand. Lift from water and drain.
Add the white pieces of the leeks to the pot and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, remove the white pieces, then cook the green pieces for 4 to 5 minutes. Both white and green pieces should be tender when probed with a paring knife. Blot dry. Transfer to a baking dish in one layer. Let cool.
Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk in 6 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, thyme and Parmesan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper; toss well. Spread crumbs on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp and golden. When cool, mix in 2 tablespoons parsley.
Preheat broiler. Brush leeks lightly with olive oil and place several inches from flame. Broil for about 5 minutes, until browned and lightly charred.
Spoon vinaigrette evenly over leeks. Top with crumbs and cooked egg. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:
Calories 390 Fat 24 g Sodium 360 mg
Carbohydrates 35 g Saturated fat 5 g Calcium 215 mg
Protein 11 g Cholesterol 100 mg Dietary fiber 3 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 2 bread/starch, ½ medium-fat meat, 4 fat.