I don’t do well with winter. Short, gray days are the norm in this rainy northern climate, and my good humor is squashed into small confines of available sunlight until the green begins to return in the spring. I get angsty. Real angsty. I try not to annoy my loved ones with it, but inside I’ve got greasy center-parted hair and I’m sitting in the corner of a poorly insulated coffee shop writing bad poetry.

Was that too much? That was too much.

Let’s focus again on simple things. Leeks are a favorite ingredient of mine, and they hopped to center stage when I first ate leek banitsa. Those little pieces of green fell apart in sweet heaven, matching the salty cheese in a pragmatic, blissful way. Beauty, I knew thy name, and it was leek!

OK, too much.

Here’s what you do with leeks. Hack off the dark green parts. Set those aside to toss into whatever stock you happen to be making at the time. Split the rest of the stalk lengthwise and rinse out any dirt from between the layers, if you see it. Carefully toss them in oil, salt, and pepper, and lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down. Put them in a 375-degree oven and leave them there until they are soft and golden brown. Serve and realize that “allium” and “candy” actually do go together.

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