The Lexingtonienne

July1st

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Do you ever have one of those dreams where you’re standing in your underwear (or less) in front of a crowd of people? Well today I am going to let my blog post be a little bit like that by exposing a once closely-held secret to you, but only because we are such close friends.

Some of the fanciest-sounding things are actually among the simplest to make. To prove it to you, I will show you step by step how to make one very fancy-sounding hors d’oeuvre, with some very fancy-sounding dessert items to come in a later post. You are going to laugh and laugh when you see how simple this is.

CROSTINI WITH CHEVRE AND CARAMELIZED LEEKS
Caramelized leeks adapted from the Joy of Cooking
1 baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
1 small roll of chevre (aka goat cheese)
6 leeks (this should provide hors d’oeuvres for 6-8 people)
butter, olive oil, and salt & pepper

The leeks take a couple of hours to caramelize, but the work is easy peasy. You can caramelize the leeks the night before, store them covered in the fridge, then warm them up the next day or use them at room temperature to assemble your crostini.

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Leeks are part of the onion family, but they’re milder and sweeter. For this you want just the white and light green parts of the leeks. Leeks are grown down in the ground to keep the white parts white, which also allows some dirt and sand to get trapped in between the layers…

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dirty leeks

… so give your leeks a thorough rinse, then cut them into 1/4-inch thick (ish) slices.

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Melt butter and olive oil in a large, heavy pot. Cook the leeks on the lowest heat possible until they are soft. This can take about 45-60 minutes, depending on how many leeks you have.

leeks go in

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When they’re soft, turn up the heat to medium, stirring them constantly. The bottom of the pan will start to brown. You can pour in a little white wine, scrape the bottom with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, and the brown bits will come right up. Stir this into your leeks – it will help them to keep browning. You can repeat this several times, and it will smell fantastic each time.

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green leeks

Keep going until the leeks are sufficiently caramelized. This can take an additional hour, but don’t watch the clock – watch the leeks. Sometimes I cheat and add a teaspoon or so of sugar at the end. I like stuff to be reeeal sweet, seeing as you are what you eat and all :)

almost brown leeks

brown leeks

brown leeks

Salt and pepper your leeks at the end of cooking, and transfer them to a bowl. Can you believe how much you started with versus how little you end up with? Kind of like spinach.

caramelized leeks

The actually crostini part is the easiest thing ever. Lightly brush each slice of bread with olive oil, stick it under the broiler to toast on each side, and you’re dunzo.

goat cheese and baguette

brushing crostini

crostini

Spread each crostini piece with goat cheese.

goat cheese

goat cheese on top

Top with caramelized leeks. Change your name to Fancypants and serve as a Fancypants hors d’oeuvre. Fancypants.

crostini

crostini with goat cheese and leeks

If you have leftover leeks and goat cheese, store them in the fridge and make yourself an omelet the next morning :)

If you don’t have a couple of hours to caramelize leeks (oh what, do you have to go to work?), you can try any number of other crostini variations:

  • sliced figs, manchego cheese, and a drizzle of honey
  • garlic butter and melted gorgonzola
  • sliced heirloom tomato, burrata, basil, and balsamic vinegar
  • pesto and parmesan
  • proscuitto and finely diced melon
  • wasabi mayo, sushi-grade ahi, black sesame seeds, and a splash of ponzu

Or make up your own! You guests will think you are all kinds of fancy. Which you are.

Fancy Schmancy Part 2 coming soon… Happy JULY, y’all!

Hannah

1 Comment

  • Pingback by It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over - The Lexingtonienne — August 9, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

    […] And you know what else that stinker did? He made chicken liver crostini, just like what he ate in Florence. (That’s “he,” not “we.” I once ate a chicken liver on accident, thinking it was something else, and it was like a can of Fancy Feast had exploded into every corner of my mouth. No more.) Anyway, maybe HE should write the next “fancypants” blog post. […]

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