Every time I have a party, it’s a struggle not to have the menu be all Smitten Kitchen, all the time. When I threw a party a couple of weeks ago, I think I succeeded—only two of the six or so items I cooked were from her blog. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of those two—these leek toasts with blue cheese—was the tastiest thing there, by my reckoning.

Leeking.

The other one I screwed up, but had I not read “1/3 cup sour cream” when the recipe clearly called for “1 cup sour cream,” it probably would have the second-most delicious thing at my party. Which makes me wonder why I bother trying to limit myself to not-all-Smitten recipes.

Anyway. I love leeks, I love blue cheese, I love toast. I never would have thought to combine them, but someone ingenious did, and I am thankful.

Leek toasts with blue cheese
From Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 pounds leeks (about 3 big leeks), lengthwise and white and pale green parts sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 generous cups of slices)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing toasts
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 medium-sized or 12 baguette-sized 1/2-inch slices of bread of your choice
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (a soft or crumbly goat cheese would also work)
Few drops of lemon juice (optional)

Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add leeks and use your hands to pump them up and down in the water a bit, separating the rings and letting the dirt and grit fall to the bottom. Transfer to a dish or plate for a minute; no need to dry them.

Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet over medium. Once hot, add butter and olive oil and once they’re fully melted and a bit sizzly, add the leek slices, still wet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook leeks for 25 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste.

While leeks cook, brush bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Run under broiler until lightly toasted. [Pay attention, unlike me, so your toasts don’t get burned!] You may either spread the cheese you’re using on now, while the toasts are hot [what I did] or sprinkle it on at the end. Divide leeks among toasts. Sprinkle with cheese, if you haven’t spread it underneath. Add a few drops of lemon juice, if desired. Eat at once or gently rewarm a bit later.

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