This is a simple recipe highlighting the leek, a hardy, rich vegetable of late summer. The recipe can be dressed up or kept modest. When preparing the leek, I cut off the bottom just before the leaves begin to separate. This section is generally clean inside and only requires a quick rinse. Then, I decide how much of the top portion looks good enough to eat and cut off the top few inches. The middle section of the leek is fine to eat, in my opinion, but needs to be washed. Fill a bowl with water, pull the leaves apart, and swish them around, cleaning any dirt from the leaves. Chop both the bottom shaft and the cleaned middle section into approximately 1/4 inch bits. Put them into an oven safe dish. I use a small ceramic casserole with a lid. If you do not have this available, you can easily use any oven safe dish and cover it with foil. Add a dab of butter, salt, black pepper, and a pinch of sage. Bake at 375* for an hour, stirring halfway through.
Use a splash of cream instead of the butter
Add bit of milk in addition to the butter
Add any herbs that you think sound good and that go with your accompanying dishes
Add a pinch or more of crushed red chile
After baking sprinkle Parmesan over the top of the leeks or grate a little Merlot BellaVitano (my new favorite cheese) over the top
Enjoy this humble allium as a meal on its own, put it on rice, bruschetta, baked potatoes, or use it as a bed for steak, chicken or pork chops.