leeks niҫoise

Lindsey Bareham

This dish looks spectacular when made with whole, slim leeks. Everything is cooked in one dish so the leeks end up imbued with tomato and garlic. Flat leaf parsley, mint or coriander are perfect garnishes and you will need crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices. Leeks nicoise is best eaten lukewarm or cold.

serves 4, prep 20 min, cook 30 min

8 slim, young leeks
8 vine tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
25g flat leaf parsley
Squeeze of lemon

Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Trim the leeks and agitate in a sink of water to loosen any grit between the layers. Drain. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes in a bowl. Count to 20. Drain, quarter, peel, discard seeds and chop. Warm the oil in a heavy based, lidded pan large enough to hold the leeks in one layer. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring often, until slippery soft and beginning to colour.

Lay the leeks among the onions, add a little salt and cook gently, turning so the leeks cook evenly, for about 10 min. Add finely chopped garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper, then cover the dish. Simmer gently for about 10 min, until the leeks are tender to the point of a sharp knife. Carefully lift the leeks to a serving platter. Return the pan to the heat and boil hard to reduce and thicken the sauce. Stir in most of the parsley and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the leeks, leave until lukewarm, garnish with remaining parsley before serving.