4 leeks, root ends trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, or low-sodium canned
1 lemon sliced crosswise, 1/8 inch thick
4 sprigs thyme
1. Preheat oven to 450° with rack in the center. Peel away and discard the outer layer of each leek. Place leeks on work surface with the white end pointing away from you. To remove the dark-green parts of the leeks, slice a section of each off at an angle. Roll each leek a quarter-turn and repeat the same cut. Continue rolling and slicing a few more times in this manner until the tapered pale-green ends resemble a sharpened pencil. Discard the dark-green trimmings.
2. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise wash well and pat dry. Letting them soak in a sink full of water will help to get all the sand out of the leeks. Place the leeks, oil, and salt in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, cut-side up (it is important that they fit snugly). Add stock, and arrange lemon slices and thyme over the top. Cover with plastic wrap, and then aluminum foil. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove the foil, puncture the plastic to release steam, then remove plastic.
3. Return baking dish to oven, and bake until leeks are dark golden brown, and the liquid is reduced, 30 to 45 minutes more. If there is a lot of liquid left in the baking dish, remove the leeks, and transfer the liquid to a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, and cook until reduced and slightly thickened. Drizzle over leeks. Can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 325° oven before using.
This recipe has been adapted from “Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book: The Best Sandwiches Ever—From Thursday Nights at Campanile”, by Nancy Silverton with Teri Gelber. Copyright ©2002 by Nancy Silverton