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Creamed Leek Tops

1 cups heavy cream
2 quarts water
2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Bunch leek stems (dark green part only) trimmed of any brown edges
8 cups ice water
½-3/4 cup, loosely packed, finely grated pecorino cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 T slivered almonds, toasted


Pour cream into a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a brisk simmer, making sure that the cream doesn’t scorch at the bottom. Reduce cream by half to yield 1/2 cup. This could take 20 minutes, depending on the width of your pot. Once reduced, set aside.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the salt. Add the leeks all at once, pushing down with a spoon or tongs.

Fill a large bowl with ice water and an additional teaspoon of salt. Stir to dissolve salt.

Cook leek stems until they are soft and pliable and just before they begin to darken, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain immediately (save the liquid for soup or stock base) and plunge strained stems into the ice water, Stir gently to help cool stems quickly. As they cool, you can pull out any stems that have turned yellow or brown. Drain stems very well.

Once well drained, place the stems in a food processor. Process the stems until the pieces resemble torn herb leaves–do not finely puree. This will yield about 1 cup.

Scrape stems into a large bowl. Add the cream, pecorino, white pepper, coriander, and salt to taste. Taste for proper seasoning. Fold in almonds at the end. Serve warm, as a side dish, with a baked potato, or as a spread on crackers or sliced radishes or kohlrabi.

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