The Beautiful Leek Terrine
A simple combination of leeks and goat cheese results in something as visually arresting as it is delicious
One of winter's great pleasures is the abundance of slim, mild leeks that take over at the market. Every year I'll pick up a bundle to make a potato-leek soup or to slice into an omelet or quiche, but this year, the leeks at my local grocer were so perfect, so lovely, that I didn't want to adulterate their flavor within another dish. Instead, I picked up nearly 40 stalks and a round of goat cheese and made one of my favorite recipes: a deceptively simple showstopper of a terrine—my adaptation of a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall adaptation of a Marco Pierre White recipe—in which trimmed, cooked leeks are layered with a creamy cheese mixture in a loaf pan and left to set overnight in the fridge, with ten to fifteen pounds of weight pressing down on it.
What results is something of a geometric wonder: turned out and sliced, the terrine reveals concentric allium cobblestones in varying shades of green and white, all bound together in a lemony goat cheese mixture. It's striking plated simply with just a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt, but you could also try it with dark pumpernickel and a few slices of gravlax, or as a vibrant addition to a classic cheese plate. However you plan to serve it, be sure the leeks are thoroughly cooked before layering them into the pan—if the terrine is difficult to slice, the leeks will pull apart and, while it will taste fantastic, the visual effect won't quite be the same.