Roasted baby leeks with thyme

Roast Leeks

Serves 4

  • 20 baby leeks

  • olive oil

  • red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. I like to serve 4 or 5 baby leeks per person, depending on their size. Lightly trim both ends and peel back the first or second layer of leaves and discard. Drop the leeks in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes to soften - this is called blanching. Drain them well (if there's too much water in them they won't roast properly) and toss in a bowl with a good lug of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, the chopped thyme leaves and the garlic. Arrange the leeks in one layer in a baking tray or earthenware dish and roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes until golden and almost caramelized. Keep your eye on them - I've seen many chefs burn baby leeks when cooking them this way and it drives me mad!

Nutritional Information

Roasted baby leeks with thyme

A lovely late-spring to summer side

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Baby leeks have a lovely sweet flavour and when roasted become beautifully caramelised
Serves 4
20m
Super easy
Method

Baby leeks are just small leeks and there are two things that are exciting about them: a) the fact that they haven't had the time to develop many green leaves or the fibrous structure that can sometimes make them stringy, and b) they're definitely sweeter. For me, they signify late spring to summer cooking. The purpose of quickly boiling them in water and then roasting them, as I've done in this recipe, is to make them deliciously soft and then to caramelize them so they develop a robustness that makes them wonderful served over or next to fish and meat. They will also add an interesting flavour to pastas or soups. When I have friends round for dinner, I do everything in the method below in advance apart from roasting them, so all I need to do is flash them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. I like to serve 4 or 5 baby leeks per person, depending on their size. Lightly trim both ends and peel back the first or second layer of leaves and discard. Drop the leeks in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes to soften - this is called blanching. Drain them well (if there's too much water in them they won't roast properly) and toss in a bowl with a good lug of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, the chopped thyme leaves and the garlic. Arrange the leeks in one layer in a baking tray or earthenware dish and roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes until golden and almost caramelized. Keep your eye on them - I've seen many chefs burn baby leeks when cooking them this way and it drives me mad!

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Nutritional Information Amount per serving:

Calories

Calories are just a unit of energy. If you eat more than you use you can gain weight, or lose it if you don't eat enough. How much you need depends on your weight, gender and how active you are, but it's around 2,000 a day.

Carbs

Carbs are a great source of energy and, excluding foods such as potatoes, are made from grains - like bread, pasta and cereal. We all need carbs, but try to make them all wholegrain by sticking to brown bread, rice and pasta - they are much more nutritious.

Sugar

We all deserve a treat sometimes, but try to limit your sugar intake. Most of your sugar should come from raw fruit and milk, because they give us lots of nutrients too. Always check food labels so you know how much sugar you're eating.

Fat

We all need to eat a small amount of fat because it protects our organs and helps us grow. But we need to be careful about how much fat we eat and what kinds of fat, because in higher levels it's associated with weight gain, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Saturates

Saturated or "bad fats" are in beef, pork, chicken skin, butter, cream and cheese. Too much can be bad for our heart and cholesterol levels, but unsaturated or "good fats" in fish, nuts, avocados and some oils can help keep our hearts healthy if eaten in moderation.

Protein

Protein helps our muscles to grow and repair, as well as providing you with essential amino acids. When it comes to protein, try to eat leaner sources such as chicken and fish or non-meat sources such as eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu and pulses.
  • Calories 74
    4%
  • Carbs 3.2g
    1%
  • Sugar 2.3g 3%
  • Fat 5.5g 8%
  • Saturates 0.8g 4%
  • Protein 1.8g 4%
Of an adult's reference intake

BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH

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Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.

When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.

For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:

Marine Stewardship Council
http://www.msc.org/

Fish Online
http://www.fishonline.org

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