Leeks with lemon and thyme get braised to a melting tenderness and complement the pillowy balls of mozzarella, with a hint of chilli.
4 long leeks, dark green tops trimmed off
1 cup stock, vegetable or chicken
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small lemon, halved, thinly sliced
small handful thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper
2 balls fresh mozzarella
in whey, drained
olive oil, lemon zest, chilli flakes, chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cut the leeks in half lengthways and, if needed, rinse to remove any grit, but keep the layers intact. Cut into 2–3 shorter lengths.
Put the stock and half the garlic in the baking dish and place the leeks, cut-side down in a single layer on top. Season with salt and pepper then dot over the remaining garlic, lemon slices and thyme. Drizzle over the oil. Cover with a piece of baking paper, then cover tightly with foil. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the leeks are very tender when pierced with a knife.
Carefully turn the leeks over and cook uncovered until lightly golden and the stock is reduced and syrupy. Cool.
To serve: Lift out the leeks and place on a serving platter along with the garlic, lemon slices and thyme. Spoon over the cooking juices.
Pull the mozzarella apart and place on top. Drizzle with oil, zest, chilli flakes to taste, parsley, sea salt and pepper. Serves 6–8.