leeks-with-roquefort-0131The ice is melting though it’s still bitterly cold in London (and for a great ice pic have a look at this.) There has been drilling out there all morning and the water’s been cut off, which feels like an ominous sign, in these times of redundancy and recession, too redolent of the 70s.

But the sky remains flawless eggshell blue. And with all talk of leftovers and New Year’s resolutions well behind us, we can move on to some some serious eating. Nothing too heavy, only a side-dish, but one which is rich and succulent, oozing with tangy Roquefort married with the fragrant bitterness of almonds.

I first made this with flaked almonds, but they don’t hold the fully-fledged almond flavour of Mediterranean hill-sides covered in tiny white flowers, and they’re way too ‘bitty’. Whole almonds, lightly toasted are so much better here. As for the cheese, well it’s what I happened to have in stock and very good it is too, but you could use another crumbly veined cheese, if you prefer.

Leeks with Roquefort and Almonds, for 4 as a side-dish
500g leeks, cleaned and sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
50 – 100g almonds, lightly toasted under the grill, or dry-fried for a few minutes
100g Roquefort
a few black olives
25g butter
1 tbs olive oil
dash or two of lemon juice

Melt the butter with the oil in a large frying-pan and scatter in the garlic and then the leeks. Continue to heat them gently until the leeks are beginning to become translucent. Add the almonds and cook for a couple more minutes.

Stir in the olives and Roquefort and squeeze in a little fresh lemon juice. Season well and serve.

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