leek and wild garlic gratin


Lindsey Bareham

I wrote recently about my plentiful wild garlic supplies and here’s another lovely way of using it, stirred into a cheese sauce to pour over leeks. Serve alone or with almost anything. A handful of spinach or basil could replace the subtly pungent ramsons.

serves 4-6, prep 20 min, cook 45 min

6 trimmed leeks
40g butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
150ml white wine
150-200ml milk
150g hard cheese
handful wild garlic leaves
50g gruyère
25g white breadcrumbs
few sprigs flat leaf parsley

Cut the leeks in 3 and steam or boil until tender. Drain, saving 150ml cooking water, in a colander. When cool enough to handle, cut each piece in 5cm lengths. Stand the pieces in a shallow, gratin-style, oven-proof dish snuggled together with no gaps between. Melt the butter in a medium-small pan, stir in the flour and then the mustard to make a smooth cream. Add the white wine, beating constantly, adding reserved leek water and 150ml milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, to cook the flour.

Grate the hard cheese and stir that in too. Add the carefully washed, roughly sliced leaves. Stir until wilted, season then pour over the leeks. Cool slightly. Finely grate the gruyère and mix with the crumbs. Scatter over the gratin. Bake now or later for 20-30 min at 200C/gas 6 until the top is crusty, the sauce oozing round the edges. Yum.