Pic of Leeks & white beans on toast

Leeks & white beans on toast

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VEG HACK

Leeks & white beans on toast

Serves 2 30 min
A fast, simple lunch using the whole leek. The darker green tops are perfectly usable; they just might need a little longer to cook and a more thorough wash. Tucked inside the leaves is a small, pale piece that we affectionately refer to as the ”niblet” – it is as tender as the pale body, so can get sliced and added at the same time as that. The tops may need an 8–10 min head start, but it will leave you with no waste, apart from the tasselled root end.

Cook's notes

If you want to expand this recipe, try grating about 120g of crumbly cheddar or sheep’s cheese into the mix, piling onto the toast and sliding it under the grill until nicely coloured on top. You could top it with the bread instead by making a gratin: put the mix in a shallow baking dish, blitz the bread into crumbs and scatter across the top, and bake in a moderate oven until golden. It would make a wonderful pasta sauce too, lengthened with a dash of pasta water and finished with some olive oil and parmesan. Of course, with a bit more stock you’d have a robust soup; leave it chunky or blitz it smooth, you choose.

Ingredients

  • 1 large leek
  • olive oil
  • 100ml warm stock
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tin of cooked white beans (haricot or cannellini), drained
  • small bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • small bunch tarragon or chervil, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp crème fraîche – optional
  • butter
  • 2 slices of bread
  • salt & pepper
Image of Leeks & white beans on toast

Method

Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Trim the root end away from the leek. Separate the darker tops from the lighter body and the niblet (see intro). Wash and slice everything but keep them in two separate piles.
  • Step 2

    Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan. Add the darker leaves and a pinch of salt. Cook them over a very gentle heat, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes until starting to soften. If they look like catching or burning at any point, add a dash of stock as and when needed.
  • Step 3

    Next, throw in the rest of the leek along with the garlic and bay. Use a peeler to pull one long strip of zest from the lemon and throw that in too. Cook gently for a further 5 minutes.
  • Step 4

    Now add the beans to the pan, along with the remaining stock. Simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, until the leek is tender and the beans have warmed through and absorbed most of the stock. Remove from the heat and pluck out the bay leaf and lemon zest. Stir in the herbs and crème fraîche. Taste and tweak the seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon to your liking.
  • Step 5

    Toast and butter your bread. Pop each slice on a plate and top with the warm, beany leeks.

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