Lemon Leek Sauce… versatile and so yum! At my house, the onion is an essential ingredient. Ok, that’s a mild description. Let’s try this again. If I ask my husband to make something to eat and he discovers we are out of onions, he would look like a desperate man who has been asked to walk the plank. So, in my house, an onion is King!
The Leek (Allium ampeloprasum) is the Kings cousin. Leeks belong to the same family as the onion, garlic, and shallots. One of the many new vegetables that I fell in love with, in the United States. And no wonder it is always a hit at the dinner table.
I love going to Farmers markets and the sight of these plump overgrown scallions (that’s what I thought they looked like when I first saw them), makes me want to dance a jig. They are sweet, with a mild and delicate onion flavor that are a treat for your senses and makes your tongue sigh in pleasure.
Leeks are a cool season crop, though they are found year around these days. You will usually see them making their appearance at the Farmers market in late September, reach their peak in January and fade away in May.
They are so versatile. You can braise and reduce it in chicken/vegetable broth and make a beautiful glaze paired with roasted chicken, stew them with thick chunks of carrots and peas to eat a hearty soul-satisfying one pot meal (Don’t forget the bread!), roast them to caramelize and release that beautiful sweetness and top a salad or just shave them as a garnish to enhance any dish.
It is consumed a lot by Europeans especially the French people, whose culture I have fallen in love with at culinary school. From being an essential ingredient in a traditional bouquet garni or an aromatic for basic stocks, soups, and stews, this humble vegetable shines. The culinary world has once again woken up to its many properties and there are many dishes where the Leek is the star.
“Humble” though is the wrong word. Leeks have been consumed by royalty for ages. In fact, it is said that King Nero ate it at every meal, believing that it had medicinal properties to enhance the quality of his voice. It is also one of the National emblems of Wales.
I wanted to pay homage to this versatile vegetable and so was born the Lemon Leek sauce. Why sauce? For me, a sauce is rich in taste and as versatile as the leek. This simple recipe for the creamy lemon-flavored leek sauce with a hint of mint is perfect for pasta or as a dip for appetizers. Make it rich with cream or substitute it with a milk of your choice for a low-calorie version. Use other herbs like rosemary or thyme instead of mint.
Pair it with a smooth dry white wine like a Chardonnay or a refreshingly crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy and let me know how much you liked it.
Note: This recipe uses the white fleshy part of the leek. Don’t throw away the dark green parts. Use it to make your own stock. It is absolutely flavorful!
Serving Suggestion: Mint Linguine with Lemon-Leek Sauce