Adventures of an American cooking, eating and living in France

Yummy, Delicious Leek Gratin

Yummy, Delicious Leek Gratin

I’m currently having a love affair with . I love their earthy oniony-ness. Most of all, I love their versatility. They can take almost any dish and make more flavorful without overpowering other flavors of a dish. And yet, they can also serve as the star of a dish as well.

A few weeks ago, I was craving some comfort food. Spring is essentially here in Nantes, but it’s still kind of rainy, windy and chilly. We were at our favorite vegetable stand at the local farmer’s market, and the they had were even more stunning and enticing than usual. Usually, they’re about an inch or so in diameter. This particular week, they were about twice that width! They were calling my name, and I answered with a classic leek gratin.

This is a fairly straight-forward recipe. The béchemel sauce and cheese make it very rich and filling. If you’re not familiar with making béchemel, don’t worry. It’s pretty easy as long as you keep your eyes on it. 

  • 2-3 mid-sized leeks
  • 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup of milk (I use partially-skimmed milk, but feel free to use skim or whole)
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon heavy cream or “creme cru” (if available); Use this if you want your sauce extra rich.
  1. Remove bottoms and tough green tops from leeks. Cut lengthwise in half and rinse thoroughly, removing any dirt or sand. 
  2. Melt 1 tblsp. in frying pan. 
  3. Lightly brown leeks on both sides in butter. Set aside when brownish on both sides.
  4. Make a béchamel:

4a. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan.

4b. Add 1/2 teaspoon of flour and mix. You should have a somewhat chunky consistency. 

4c. Gradually add a cup of milk, constantly stirring to ensure milk doesn’t scald and stick to bottom of pan. Thicken sauce until smooth. Add salt and and a couple of pinches of , tarragon or other herb of your choice ( works great, too). Add heavy cream or creme cru (optional) and stir until smooth.

5. Place browned leeks in baking pan. Cover with béchamel. Grate Gruyere or other Swiss cheese on top.

6. Bake in oven on 400 F/200 C for 15 minutes or until the top browns.

  • 10″ frying pan
  • sauce pan (any size will do)
  • cheese grater (if your cheese isn’t already grated)
  • 13 x 9″ baking pan 

Did you try this recipe? Post a pic on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag it with #eatfrenchclub! 

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