Yesterday morning when I stepped out my kitchen door into the garden, I was delighted to see how healthy and vigorous my herbs are at the moment. The thyme is like a thick fuzzy carpet and the sage is so full and downright plush. The cilantro is practically tree-like. Since the herbs grow right up to my kitchen door, I really think of this section of my garden as my true potager. Just musing over that French word for a moment (and feeling slightly silly about it) put me in the mood to cook something French. Which made me focus in on the thyme. Then the beautiful sunny day with the crisp chill in the air made me think of spring leeks.(Which regretfully I’m not growing.)
Happily I remembered recently reading a delicious sounding recipe for braised leeks on the Smitten Kitchen blog (which she adapted from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques.”) Within a few hours my kitchen was filled with the wonderful smell of roasting leeks and shallots sauteing in butter and thyme. (And if there’s a better smell than this, I’m sure I don’t know what it is.)
I also ended up making the chicken thighs that were part of the original recipe. They were very tasty too but frankly not really worth all the extra effort (not to mention fat) involved. The leeks were by far the star of the meal–fragrant, buttery and delicious. Like Deb at Smitten Kitchen suggested, these would be a great main course accompanied by a hard or soft-cooked egg, a mustard vinaigrette, and a sharp salad and crusty bread. The perfect soothing transition from winter to spring.