Recipe: Roasted leeks with hazelnut and bacon dressing
When I did a poll on my Facebook page about top 5 vegetables people would like to use more in the kitchen, leeks came up as number one. Relative to onion and garlic, leek is one of those vegetables that we see at the markets and shops all the time, yet our mind usually stops at leek and potato soup when we think about what we’re going to do with it.
Leeks is actually quite versatile and can be used in place of onion but because it’s not as strong in flavour, it can hold its own as a the key ingredient in a dish. It can be braised, stewed, stir-fried and in our case roasted. And as far as nutrition profiles go, leek is not a powerhouse but it does contain a bit of everything (vitamin K, C, A, B6, manganese, copper, iron, folate, fibre etc). Leeks also contain good amounts of the flavonoid kaempferol, which helps to protect our blood vessel linings from damage.
Cook’s notes: You can use baby leeks for this recipe and instead of slicing them into disks just roast them whole after washing carefully. Almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios and pine nuts would work well instead of hazelnuts. Vegetarians can simply omit the bacon. If you have some hazelnut oil, drizzle a few dashes of that right at the end. If you don’t have a lemon, use some white or red wine vinegar instead.
- 3 medium leeks (not the petit ones)
- 2 tbsp macadamia oil or coconut oil
- 2 rashes of bacon, diced small
- A little extra coconut oil
- 1 large garlic clove, finely diced
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts (large handful)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Few pinches of sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 180 °C/355 °F.
- Wash the leeks and slice the pale white and light green part into 1cm disks. Reserve the green ends for a stock or stir-fry.
- Arrange leek slices in a single layer in a roasting tray and drizzle with macadamia oil or melted coconut oil. You can also use a few dollops of ghee. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Place hazelnuts in a small frying pan and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, tossing through frequently, until toasted and the shell skin starts to come off. Set aside to cool and peel as much of the skin off. Once cool, crash with a large chef’s knife and chop into smaller crumbs or grind in a food processor.
- Half way through the roasting time, pan fry diced bacon over medium heat until crisp. Add garlic, lemon zest and hazelnut crumbs. Stir and cook for a minute or two until garlic is lightly golden. Take off the heat and add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir through to warm up the oil and set aside.
- Finally, remove the leeks to a bowl or a platter and top with the dressing. Serve with a side of protein and a salad.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Number of servings: 2