Try Roasting Leeks For An Elevated Dinner Side

Leeks are one of the most subtle members of the allium family, offering a sweet, but nuanced bite. But you're making a big mistake if you're just treating them like a milder cousin of the onion. Instead of letting them act as a member of sautéed aromatic, let the leek take center stage, as its delicate flavor makes it worthy enough to be a standalone dish. 

When slowly roasted in the oven, leeks become mellow in flavor while the texture goes melt-in-your-mouth tender, a decadent result that needs little to improve upon. Not to mention, their elegant tube-like shape makes them an easy fit for most roasting pans. Its versatile flavor makes it a natural complement to classic proteins like grilled salmon or roasted chicken. Or, you can pair it with stronger flavors, like salty ham and sharp cheese dishes. No matter which way you go, you should consider making roasted leeks your next side dish for a dinner party.      

For the love of leeks

There are plenty of ways to make leeks into a stunning side dish, but let's start with the easiest way. First, you'll want to trim them to the pale green section of the tube, as the dark green sections will be tough and fibrous. Next, you'll slice them down the middle longways, being sure to carefully clean the leeks under the faucet, as they are notorious for hiding sand in their crevices. Line them up in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, and then roast them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 to 40 minutes, turning halfway through. The amount of time they'll need to roast will depend on the size of your leeks, with the larger the leek needing a longer cooking time. 

This simple recipe is all you need to unlock the power of your leeks, but you can go in a richer direction and make a cream and cheese-heavy version of leeks au gratin. You can also add butter, garlic, or herbs to the more simple recipe above to bring in more flavor. Even a final dusting of parmesan would be welcome on this flexible side dish. Basically, with roasted leeks, the sky's the limit.