Leek, Garlic & Tomato Provencal has much to celebrate. With just a handful of ingredients – leeks, garlic, tomato, rosemary, thyme, red wine vinegar & olive oil, it’s all cooked in the one pan & is quite a chameleon, becoming a side dish, a light meal on artisan toast or even the base for pasta meal.
What Leek, Garlic & Tomato Provencal lacks in glamour, it more than makes up for in flavor. Leeks become soft & sweet; tomatoes wilt & pop, their flavors intensifying & garlic becomes soft & buttery. Another example of less is more.
I first made this recipe on my cooking show. We filmed an episode on ‘alliums’, a genus of plants which includes onions, leeks, garlic, shallots & chives. During research for the show I learned about the health properties of the members of this pungent smelling family. I also discovered that the leek is one of the national symbols of Wales, even appearing on the Welsh emblem. Leeks have similar health properties to that of the onion: detoxifying, helping to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes & they’ve been said to treat asthma. The list goes on & if even somewhat true, is impressive.
When someone tells me they don’t like onions I do an internal eye-roll. They’ve eaten them countless times before but not realized. Onion & its cousins leek & garlic, are the foundation for so many savory recipes. Like children, adult food haters screw-up their faces & pick through their food if they know an ingredient they despise is in a meal. If they can’t see it, they generally will eat it, blissfully unaware. If truth be told all picky eaters receive internal eye-rolls from me. It’s one thing not to like a particular food but when the list of dislikes becomes boringly long, then you lose my respect & now I just find you annoying. Such people cling to their childish dislikes & often have to announce it to everyone in an attempt to both justify & draw attention to themselves, wearing their picky eating like a badge of honor. Please don’t come to my home for dinner. And grow up – you’re not six years old. Thankfully I married a man who embraces all foods (apart from chocolate & hummus) so we eat lots of alliums in our house. Garlic being the most treasured. It’s also, me thinks, the reason why we rarely get sick.
Serve Leek, Garlic & Tomato Provencal as a side dish to roasted chicken, barbecued lamb or beef with a simple baby greens salad. Or try it as a light lunch with some crusty bread. Any leftovers chop them & toss them through pasta (our dinner last night). But my favorite way of enjoying this is squishing the garlic onto rustic slices of toast & piling the leeks & tomatoes on top (my lunch yesterday).
Simple, rustic food at it’s best. Until next time, cheers,
PS. Some more must try leek recipes:
- Rustic Country Chicken with Olives & Leeks
- Leek & Parmesan Quiche
- Rainbow Chard, Leek & Gouda Crustless Tart
- 28oz (794g) can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
- 4 leeks
- 2 bulbs of garlic, trimmed of excess papery skin
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 3 or so thyme sprigs
- 12 oz (340g) small vine-ripened tomatoes, left whole & on their stalks
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- a good pinch of salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Empty the can of tomatoes & the juice into a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) baking pan. Break the tomatoes into chunks using a wooden spoon or potato masher.
- Trim & discard the root end & tough top from leeks, reserving the white & tender green parts. Cut each leek in half lengthways. Wash leeks under cold running water to remove any dirt between their layers; giving them a shake & patting them dry with paper towel. Arrange leeks in a single layer on the tomato starting at one short end of pan.
- Cut garlic bulbs in half & place cut halves randomly in with the leeks. Scatter rosemary & thyme over leeks. Add vine-ripened tomatoes; drizzle with vinegar & oil & sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper. Roast, uncovered, for 50 minutes.
- Sprinkle with brown sugar & roast a further 10 minutes or until leeks are tender. Use a small sharp knife inserted into a leek to test for doneness.
- Remove & discard the stalks from the herbs & the tomatoes. Squeeze garlic from cut bulb halves into the pan. Serve warm.