jacques pepin's leek gratin

3 slices white bread
about 4 ounces
3 cloves garlic
4 oz gruyere
could also use emmenthaler or swiss
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
freshly ground
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
4 whole leeks
large, about 1.75 pounds, trimmed leaving some green, split, washed
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp butter
unsalted cut into small cubes for use in dotting
We were trying to make use of leftover leeks when we first made this dish. We checked the index of Jacques Pepin's Essential Pepin and selected the leek recipe that made the best use of ingredients that we had on hand. We've rewritten the preparation steps to instead use scissors to save our hands from having to handle hot leeks. We were pleasantly surprised at the great taste, so now we've added this to our recipe collection. The cheesy, crunchy crust compliments the tender, creamy leek perfectly.
Finely chop the bread, garlic, cheese, salt, and pepper in a food processor or magic bullet.
Add the oil and lightly coat the mixture. Be sure not to over mix or else it becomes gummy.
Boil 1 cup of water in a large skillet. Arrange the leeks in one layer in the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook for about 20 minutes until the leeks are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Boil off any remaining water if needed, then reserve off heat.
Preheat the oven to 475 or preheat the broiler. if using the broiler, adjust the rack to be 9-10 inches away from the heat.
Butter a 4-5 cup gratin dish.
With the help of scissors, cut the leeks in the skillet into 3-inch pieces. Arrange the pieces in the gratin dish, alternating white and green pieces.
Spread the bread and cheese mixture on top of the leeks. Sprinkle small pieces of butter on top.
Cook for 7-8 minutes in the oven until the gratin is heated through and browned on top.
source: Jacques Pepin's Essential Pepin
Make sure that you select a skillet that can snugly fit all the leeks. If the skillet has too much empty space, the leek will burn by the time it cooks. We know because we made this mistake the first time we made this dish. :)