Have I complained about leeks before? It’s tough to keep up with the things that I whine about, mostly because I cannot keep track of that much stuff. There are nights where The Wife stops me mid-rant because I have already malcontently rambled on about that particular topic or person (normally it’s a person). I guess her problem is not that I complain but that my points rarely change.
Digressing. Leeks are awesome and their subtle flavors are an immediate enhancement to dishes like this frittata from Faith Durand at The Kitchn, but they are an absolute pain in the ass to clean. No one can deny this fact. These root vegetables that are cousins to the onion and scallion have endless layers, all of which have paper thin layers of dirt in between them. Sometimes you get a clean leek. Often, though, they are a mess. When I need just a little, I will spend $3.49 on Wegmans’ cleaned, cut and bagged version that they stock with the rest of their prepared veggies. For a recipe like this, I spent the same amount and got three large stalks that were as clean as I have ever seen.
Emma Christensen, also of The Kitchn, says that the easiest way to clean leeks is by using your hands. She also suggests that you can run them through a salad spinner to loosen things and dry them. After giving them a cursory dirt check, I was satisfied to chop them and then toss them under water, leaving them to stand and dry. The combination of the colander and heat of the pan took care of the excess water.
WHAT WORKED: Not using lemon juice. I didn’t really pay attention to the recipe itself until it was time to cook, so all I knew was that I needed a lemon. It turns out that this recipe was all about the zest and none of the juice. I’m not sure I ever used a citrus fruit without juicing it before. Of course, what to do with a naked lemon? You can squeeze the juice for later or do what I did: toss it in your garbage disposal to freshen things up after ramming the leek leaves down it.
WHAT DIDN’T: The goat cheese measure. Call me crazy or a little cheese crazy, but a little more cheese would have worked well here. Goat cheese portions at Wegmans all ran 4 oz., so I used it all. That said, another 2 to 3 oz. more would have been nice. But, as I said, I like cheese.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “This really tastes good. I like this a lot.”
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes, assuming that the leeks don’t look too dirty the next time I want to make it. I also think that this could be adjusted for use as a quiche filling. Mmmmm. Quiche.
Lemon Frittata with Leeks and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Faith Durand’s original at The Kitchn
- 7 eggs
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 Meyer lemon, zested
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled or chopped into small pieces
- Olive oil
- 2 to 3 large leeks
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Trim your leeks by cutting the stem from the bottom and the tough green leaves from the top. Cut lengthwise and rinse them thoroughly to remove any dirt. Return to the cutting board and chop into half-inch semicircles. Set aside. If they are still dirty, rinse them off in a colander and let stand in the sink to drain.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until a nice froth develops. Whisk in the sour cream and lemon zest until well-combined smooth. Use a large spoon to stir in the goat cheese, then set aside.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over high. When it shimmers, reduce heat to medium and add the leeks. Stir every minute or so to coat with oil and cook evenly, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat, and transfer to the egg-cheese mixture.
Preheat your broiler to high. Add a dash of olive oil to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the eggs have set but are still wet, about 10 minutes. Use a spatula to check that the eggs have cooked evenly and to allow uncooked egg to transfer to the hot cooking surface.
Transfer the pan to the oven under the broiler and cook at least 3, but no more than 5 minutes, until the eggs puff up and the top is browned. Remove from the oven, let stand for a minute and CAREFULLY flip onto a serving platter.