Forgive me, for I know this dish does not look good.
It is not sleek, shiny or pretty in any way. In fact, it’s a bit of a mess. I tried all kinds of different ways to assemble it so that it didn’t look like a pile of random stuff on a plate, but to no avail – a pile of random stuff it is.
But in my defence, it is a delicious pile of random stuff.
Because really, while it is difficult to make any combination of mashed potatoes and stock look good, it’s also very difficult to get them to taste bad. Add a few different textures and flavors to the dish and it’s definitely a winner.
Here, the potatoes and stock form a warm, versatile base. The potato is creamy and flavored through with a spoonful of pumpkin-seed oil, but you could really use anything with it – minced garlic and olive oil, or mushrooms sauteed in butter come to mind. It isn’t ground too fine, so it still has chunks and a bit of bite.
The star of the show here is really the leek. It’s cooked in two ways – whole stalks dipped into a bowl of rich vegetable stock and roasted in the oven along with a few cloves of garlic. A few leftover bits are chopped really fine and crisped in hot butter and pepper as a spicy sprinkling for the finish.
The whole thing is doused with a bit of stock and topped with an egg. Really – tell me that won’t be delicious.
The nice thing about this dish is that it’s so easily adaptable according to personal tastes. The mashed potatoes can be flavored differently or even switched for scrambled eggs (with chives, maybe?). Vegetable stock can be swapped for something meaty, and pretty much all vegetables taste good when they’re roasted in stock. I’d recommend you keep the egg, but really, anything goes.
Oven Roasted Leek
4 large potatoes
2 tbsp cream
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp pumpkin-seed oil
3 cups of vegetable stock
3 cloves of garlic
5 large leeks
Salt to taste
Peel the potatoes, tip them into a pan of hot water and bring to boil. Leave them on till they’re soft and falling apart. Salt them and then mash them with the cream and one tablespoon of softened butter. Once it’s mashed (you don’t want it too fine), stir the pumpkin-seed oil through.
Pour the stalk into a shallow dish. Mash the cloves of garlic and add them in, as well as 4 of the leeks. Bake at 170 for 10 minutes. The leeks should be soft but firm when they’re out.
Chop the fifth leek very finely. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan, add the pepper and then fry the chopped leek until crisp right through.
To assemble, first spread a layer of the mashed potato on the plate. Add the roasted leeks and spoon some stock over it. Top with an egg (poached or fried, according to your liking) and then sprinkle some of the crisped leek over it.
Eat before anyone has the chance to take any pictures.