Herbed Carrot and Leek Chunks, Oven-Steamed
2 tablespoons hazelnut, walnut, or olive oil
2 medium leeks
4 medium carrots
1/4 pound white (button) mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1When leeks and carrots are moistened with minced mushrooms, sealed in packets, and baked in their aromatic juices, a new richness emerges. Quickly assembled, the colorful, tender mélange is peppery, sweet, and woodsy. Pop into the oven while a roast rests, or bake alongside whole fish. Very simple, very special.
2Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut four 12-inch lengths of aluminum foil. Spread 1 teaspoon oil on each to coat half.
3Trim off roots and dark green leaf tops from leeks. Slice lengthwise toward leaf tips to halve each leek. Plunge up and down in a sinkful of water, opening up the layers to slosh clean, then examine each down to the base. Repeat until soil-free. Lay cut side down and slice across into 1-inch lengths. Divide evenly among foil squares, arranging on the oiled part.
4Peel carrots; cut into 1-inch diagonal slices. Distribute among the leeks. Mince mushrooms very fine. Toss with thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and mix well. Divide evenly over the vegetables. Fold over foil and form half-moon packets, crimping edges tightly, as if making turnovers.
5Set packets on baking sheet. Bake in center of oven 20 minutes or until tender.