This past week has been remarkably warm here in Baltimore. With a few days seeing the mercury hovering in the 60's, it is easy to forget that we are still in the middle of February. I would normally say to enjoy it while you can because I wouldn't be surprised if Old Man Winter still has a few tricks up his icy sleeves, but it was just too nice outside for that kind of talk. So I decided to combine winter and spring flavors into one small meal. Springy leeks are braised in red wine and combined with mushrooms, creamy polenta, and a bit of tangy gorgonzola. This is based off of a braised leek recipe I used to make but cannot locate right now.
2 leeks, trimmed of their greens
2 large mushrooms, sliced, no stems
1 ½ cups red wine
1 tsp fresh marjoram
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
½ cup corn meal
gorgonzola, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, heat oil in a large sauce pan. As the oil is heating, trim the leeks into a log shape. Slice in half lengthwise and briefly rinse under running water to remove any dirt that may be trapped between the layers.
To the oil, add the mushrooms and cook until done. Remove from pan and lightly season with salt. In the same sauce pan, place the leeks cut side down in the remaining oil. Gently saute until the leeks start to get nice and golden brown. Add the marjoram, wine, and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cover. Gently cook until leeks are cooked through and wine has reduced to a few tablespoons.
Meanwhile, in another pot, bring the water up to a boil. Add butter and a healthy pinch of salt. When the water is at a full boil, quickly whisk in corn meal. Reduce heat and cook until the cornmeal has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally.
Assemble by plating the polenta and then the mushrooms. Spoon the reduction over the mushrooms and top with a few leeks. Garnish with gorgonzola and black pepper.