My amazing friend/culinary partner in crime and I hold a special place in our hearts for the leek. In my life before Paris, I'd only ever eaten it in one dish, a dish that my friend and I perfected together one amazing winter vacation a few years ago. His mother emailed us a recipe for potato leek soup and we gathered the ingredients, washed the creepishly grimy leek folds and made a damn good pot of soup that we topped with crushed kettle chips, the ultimate secret ingredient (i went on to create a kettle chip battered tofu recipe after this as well.)
Now that I'm in France, I can't help but see leeks everywhere. It seems like every shopping bag in town has some tall green stalks shooting out of it. In the interest of fitting in, and trying to use leeks in a new way, I bought a few at the market and looked at them for a while before shoving them into le frigo. As luck would have it, Belinda decided to use the leek that I had picked up for her to make Fondue de Poireau that very night, and I just happened to lurk around the kitchen long enough to memorize how she did it.
Although the word fondue simply means "melted" and when you say "melted leeks" nothing that interesting pops into mind, I can't help but salivate when I hear the same word in French. If I see a fondue something on a menu, I'm ordering it. No questions asked. True, it's probably because my brain has been wired to associate fondue with cheese and cheese always sounds appetizing, maybe that's why I modified my Fondue de Poireau a bit to include some parmesano. I also wanted to add a starch to the meal that wasn't just hunks of baguette (not that going that route would be bad at all.) So here is my recipe for Fondue de Poireau based on observing Belinda and incorporating another element which you could easily knix if you decide to simply dip hunks of bread into your melted leeks.
So, this is not necessarily a traditional quiche but I'm not sure what else to call it, so just go with me on the name, ok? Thanks. Quiche aux Pommes de Terre et Fondue au Poireau(there has to be a simpler way to say this...) Ingredients
Crust • 2 or 3 potatoes • a few eggs • some milk or cream • some oil or butter
Fondue • 1-2 leeks • garlic • butter • a little crème fraîche • salt • pepper • parmesano reggiano
Directions I started by thinly slicing my potatoes, you could also shred yours if you prefer. I almost always leave the peel on when cooking potatoes, but feel free to remove that as well. Next, I got a pie pan and lightly rubbed it with olive oil. I layered my potato "coins" into the oiled pan until it was completely covered. I baked the potato-only crust for about 15 minutes at around 425˚F. While it was baking, I got out a bowl and cracked an egg into it and whisked in a little bit of milk (which in France means that it was actually half&half.) I then lowered the heat on the oven to about 300˚F and poured the egg/milk mixture onto the crust and let it continue to bake for another 20 minutes while I prepared the fondue. For the fondue, I diced up my leek (only use the white part) and added it to a saucepan with a heap of butter and some sea salt. I let it sautée over medium low heat for about ten minutes before adding a few cloves of minced garlic. I put a cover on the pan and let it simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat. After the leek seemed like it was melted and broken down with the butter I removed it from the heat and added a few spoonfulls of crème fraîche and some shaved parmesano reggiano as well as cracked pepper. Then I poured the hot fondue onto the freshly baked crust and and Matthias and I devoured it within a few minutes.