egg noodles with wild leeks (PPN#164)

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wild leeks summary: egg noodles tossed with wild leeks recipe as a sidedish for fiddleheads, chop and horseradish mayonnaise; information about Presto Pasta Nights (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

I believe I mentioned that there was also a big bunch of wild leeks included with the fiddleheads that our friend gave us. These too we’ve tried before. But from the market. Not freshly picked just a few hours before.

WHAT a difference that much shorter time out of the soil makes!

wild leeks These freshly picked wild leeks were sweet and hot and almost delicately flavoured. No stink to them (well… if you don’t count oniony garlicky aroma as a stink…. :-))

We really wanted to show the leeks off – so we could taste them – and decided it would be best to use them to make a very simple pasta sidedish to go with a chop.

We were going to barbecue the chops but the weather didn’t quite co-operate. Ha! Come to think of it, maybe it did co-operate. By frying the chops, we got to deglaze the pan with a little sherry.

wild leeks And being a fan of lily-gilding, I also grated some horse-radish and put in just enough mayonnaise to hold it together. (It might not look like much but don’t let looks fool you! A little goes a very long way…. This is one of my favourite things to have with a grilled steak or chop.)

However, I do think what made this dinner really really spectacular was the leeks in pasta. Here is what T did to prepare the leeks:

Fresh Pasta tossed with Wild Leeks

Once again, no measurements….

  • olive oil
  • chili flakes
  • smoked sausage, chopped finely
  • wild leeks, chopped
  • seasalt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • fresh pasta
  • aged gruyere, grated
  1. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil. Add chili flakes and cook them at medium heat until they are dark (a minute or less). The flakes shouldn’t be burnt to a crisp just nicely darkened. Watch that the oil is not too hot or the chili fumes will bring on a major coughing fit.
  2. Add the white parts of the wild leeks and sausage and continue cooking until the leeks are just starting to turn gold.
  3. Add the green parts of the leeks.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside as you cook the pasta.
  5. Cook fresh past in well salted boiling water for as long as it takes to make it al dente. (Ours takes only about 3 minutes.)
  6. Drain pasta, leaving it a little wet.
  7. Put the leek mixture pan back on the heat. Dump the cooked pasta in and gently toss until everything is coated with oil.

Serve immediately with grated gruyere sprinkled overtop.

wild leeks pasta We couldn’t believe how fabulous this was. Of course, I’m sure it made a difference that the eggs for the pasta were also from our friends’ farm and had been laid quite recently. There really is nothing as wonderful as happy hens’ eggs!

Presto Pasta Nights - every FridayPresto Pasta Nights #164

Over three years ago, Ruth (Once Upon a Feast) created this weekly event for people to share their favourite pasta dishes. Susan (The Well-Seasoned Cook) is hosting PPN this week.

For complete details on how to participate in Presto Pasta Nights (PPN), please read the following:

 

We saw some wild leeks and fiddleheads at our weekly farmers’ market yesterday. But having been so spoiled by having really freshly picked young fiddleheads and wild leeks, we decided against buying any. However, they did look awfully good and if you live in the Toronto area, it’s likely that one of your farm marketeers will have wild leeks and fiddleheads this week. (Perhaps on Borden Street on Wednesday?)

edit 22 May 2010: Susan has posted the PPN#164 roundup. Better put a big pot of water on to boil before you go. You’re going to neeeeed to make pasta after you’ve finished reading it. Good luck on choosing which one to make first.

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  • Dang, I can’t imagine I’ll ever find them so fresh! I’m sure they are that much better.

    It’s like night and day, Tanna. The longer they are out of the ground, the more pungent they get…. Maybe you could plant the leeks to try next year? (I suspect that the leeks take up less room in the garden than the ferns.) -Elizabeth

  • This is wild Elizabeth I had to go look it up. Twist after rising, just before going into the oven.

    Thank you, Tanna! That makes sense. (For anyone confused about this comment, it is in reply to my question about Ciabatta Twisted.) -Elizabeth

  • I literally *just* saw these leeks yesterday at my supermarket, but I already had so much produce, I couldn’t justify stuffing the fridge – now I am intrigued! Hope they still have them next week when I go back.

    Beautiful recipe, Elizabeth – so rich, yet simple. Thanks for sharing it for PPN!

    Oooh, I hope they have them too, Susan. This really was delicious. Maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll have fiddleheads too. -Elizabeth

  • It does sound fantastic. So glad you shared it with Presto Pasta Nights. Here in Nova Scotia, we’re typically a month or so behind my friends in Toronto, so I’m still waiting to see wild leeks and wild garlic. Guess I’ll just have to book mark this recipe.

    Does this mean local fiddleheads are just appearing now, Ruth? Make sure you grab some of them too! -Elizabeth

  • I think I’ll come live with you for the spring…. I’ve only seen fiddlehead fern in photos…. It’s way too early for my own chard and the French like huge white stuff (they throw away the leaves and just eat the stalks) and no wild leeks. I’m so deprived!!! (Sob)
    Well, okay, I do live in France and we do have a few local specialties that are pretty darn good – but for the moment I’ll simply be jealous!
    And I do have green garlic – so there!

    You’re more than welcome, any time, Katie! We have green garlic (from our garden) right now too… and you’re right, it’s fabulous! -Elizabeth

  • Oh, I wish we had wild leeks here! Are they milder or stronger than regular leeks? Do you think I could substitute them?

    They’re much finer that regular leeks – they’re about the size of green onions. And the flavour is ever so slightly garlicky. But I’m certain you could substitute with actual leeks, Su-Lin. (Good idea!) I suspect you’d just have to cook them a little longer. -Elizabeth