When leeks cook slowly, they take on a supple, silky texture. The results complement fish, as well as pork or chicken.
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°.
Remove roots, outer leaves, and tops from leeks. Cut leeks in half lengthwise. Rinse thoroughly with cold water, and cut each half into 3-inch julienne strips.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks to pan; cook 4 minutes or until slightly wilted, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 20 minutes or until edges are browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in juice. Keep warm.
Place salmon on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle salmon with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper. Bake salmon at 400° for 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 fillet on each of 4 plates; top with 2 tablespoons leek mixture.
Wine note: Salmon pairs comfortably with red or white wine. But the natural sweetness of the leeks can be a challenge for very dry or tannic wines, making them seem hollow or bitter. Try a Washington State Riesling like Hayman and Hill Reserve Selection ($15). This aromatic white has good weight, lively acidity, and a touch of sweetness on the finish that will balance the whole meal. —Jeffery Lindenmuth