To say we grew a lot of leeks this year is an understatement. We had a number of extra seedlings and couldn’t bear to leave them unplanted. Thankfully, leeks store well and their abundance has allowed me to delve deeply into leek cookery, a most welcome opportunity. Porri al Forno, or leeks baked in cream, is based on a dish we tried earlier this season. I’d thought about substituting leeks for the original fennel, but never liked how stringy leeks seem to become once they’re done. When I saw how Frugal Feeding prepared his leeks, however, I knew I had my solution.
Cut crosswise, the leeks are treated to a bath of cream and Parmesan, and baked until they become meltingly tender and sweet. Like most dishes with so few ingredients, the quality of each will contribute to the fineness of the dish. It’s lovely as an accompaniment to anything roasted, be it meat or another complementary vegetable, and every time we’ve served it, guests have wanted more.
Porri al Forno
Leeks Baked in Cream
1½ pounds leeks, about 4 large stalks, green part removed
2 cups heavy cream
1½ cups grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
– Heat oven to 425°F. Cut leeks crosswise into 1½ inch rounds. You should have enough to pack closely into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Leeks will shrink during baking; if necessary, add more leeks to ensure a tight fit.
– In a bowl, toss together leeks, heavy cream, and 1 cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Transfer and arrange in baking dish, cut sides up. Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes.
– Remove foil, and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Finish baking until leeks are tender and browned, about 20 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Saveur.