Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Chef’s Table: Martin Hollis, executive chef at the Old Course, St Andrews

Post Thumbnail

Martin Hollis, executive chef at the Old Course St Andrews looks at the distinguished history of the leek

The humble leek has a distinguished history. It was eaten by the Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks and the Romans, who almost certainly introduced it into Wales and the United Kingdom.

Leeks are the perfect ingredient for winter soups and pastas. However, don’t underestimate the great potential of the often-overlooked leek. In season October through May, this mellow vegetable reaches its peak in January.

They’re closely related to onions, shallots, and scallions, most resembling the last — though much larger, typically 12 inches in length and around two inches in diameter.

Leeks are commonly divided by harvest seasons – summer and winter. Summer leeks are generally smaller than winter leeks, which are more strongly flavoured. The most popular varieties of winter leeks are King Richard and Tadorna Blue.

Here’s my recipe for a delicious leek and blue cheese bake and it only takes 30 minutes to prepare – the perfect Sunday roast accompaniment. You’ll need six large, washed leeks, cut diagonally into 6cm pieces, 50g crumbled blue cheese (Dunsyre Blue, Blue Murder), 500ml double cream and one tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

For the crispy topping: 75g diced pancetta, a few sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped,  pinch of dried chilli flakes, 50g breadcrumbs, and olive oil.

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the leeks into a 15 x 20cm baking dish, packing them in tightly as they will shrink when cooked. Mix the crumbled blue cheese, double cream and mustard in a bowl with a little salt and lots of black pepper. Pour over the leeks, cover with a double layer of foil and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes until the leeks are very soft.

Put the pancetta into a cold frying pan then fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes until really crisp. Add the rosemary and chilli flakes and cook for 1 minute. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl, tip in the pancetta, including all of its fat, and mix well. Remove the foil from the leeks and cover evenly with the breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Return to the oven for 15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden.

Chef’’s tip: When choosing leeks at the market, look for firm, straight, dark green leaves and white necks. Avoid yellowed or wilted leaves and cracked or bruised bulbs. Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator where they will keep fresh for between one or two weeks. Try wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag to help them retain moisture or store them in the freezer for up to three months. Cooked leeks are very perishable and will only stay fresh for about two days.

For a vegetarian version, leave out the pancetta and add in some mushrooms.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from The Courier Food & Drink team

More from The Courier