Endives au gratin, or ham-wrapped chicory, is a traditional dish from Northern France/Belgium, but they have quite a bitter taste so, although the grown-ups love them, they're not always so popular with the kids. I decided to tweak the dish a little and try it with leeks instead of endives, wrapping them in bacon then pouring over cheese sauce, sprinkling on some grated cheese and baking them in the oven.
My plan changed slightly when I discovered some Hollandaise sauce in this month's Degustabox. Hollandaise sauce is a creamy, buttery sauce usually flavoured with lemon, so I wasn't entirely sure how it would work, but it was actually lovely. I'll definitely have to try this again with cheese sauce too though, because that would definitely work really well too.
Bacon-wrapped leeks with hollandaise sauce
a pack of bacon rashers
ready-made Hollandaise sauce
or if making your own Hollandaise sauce :
2 egg yolks
1tbsp lemon juice (or extra, to taste)
pinch of salt
pinch of Cayenne pepper
1/4 cup salted butter
Top and tail the leeks and peel of the first couple of outer layers to reveal the soft, vibrant leeks beneath. (You might not need to do this if they haven't been lingering in the kitchen as long as mine !)
I used a large frying pan so that it was big enough to fit the leeks in whole. Fill with boiling water, add a pinch of salt then cook the leeks, turning every now and then, for about ten minutes, until they are soft when stabbed with a sharp knife. Drain in a colander while you cook the bacon, to let as much water out as possible (and also so you can handle them without burning your fingers !)
After grilling or frying the bacon (leave it soft as it needs to be bendy and will also continue to cook in the oven), take each leek and wrap one or two bacon rashers around it. Lay them in a single layer in an ovenproof dish.
If making your own Hollandaise sauce, beat the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper together in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth, then slowly stream melted butter into the egg yolk mixture while whisking to incorporate. Heat in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds, then whisk, adding a little water and whisking again if it separates. (There are more complex and traditional recipes if you go and google Hollandaise sauce !) Alternatively, squirt ready made Hollandaise sauce all over the leeks.
Put in a hot oven for ten minutes to warm the sauce and serve as they are, or with rice if you want a heartier dish.
Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky as it used up some leeks that were starting to look a bit wrinkly !