Buttery Braised Leeks with a Crispy Panko Topping

January  4, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2 as a side
Author Notes

This recipe keeps the beautiful vibrance of the leeks intact while the juice from the lemon brings a great balance and acidity to the dish. The topping is crispy and cheesy which is a perfect foil to the buttery texture of the leeks. This recipe serves as an appetizer but it would also be great blitzed into a dip or a topping for homemade pizza! —amber wilson | for the love of the south

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: for the love of the south is a food blogger who, clearly, has a way with leeks.
WHAT: A balanced, buttery side you'll want to eat all by itself.
HOW: Just brown, braise, bread, and serve!
WHY WE LOVE IT: You'd think a dish with "buttery" in the title would be overwhelmingly rich. You'd be wrong. Lemon and parsley don't let all of that butter steal the show -- they keep the whole dish in check. You'll need to keep going back for more, just to see how good these really are. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Braised Leeks
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned, and halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crispy Panko Topping
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt the butter and olive oil over a medium-high flame in a large sauté pan. Once the oil and butter are hot, place the leeks cut side down into the pan. Let the leeks brown in the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip the leeks over and turn the heat on low. Cover and let the leeks braise for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the leeks are soft all the way through. Take the leeks off the heat and squirt the lemon juice over the braised leeks and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the panko topping.
  2. For the panko topping: Combine panko with parsley, Parmesan, and salt and pepper in a small dish. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast this mixture until golden brown. Serve over the leeks. Make sure that you taste the panko mixture for correct seasonings to ensure that the dish is seasoned all the way through.
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    Laura Werts
Southern storyteller, freelance photographer, and recipe developer. Author of the Southern memoir-style food blog, For the Love of the South. Bringing Southern memories to the table.

68 Reviews

Hmoshman February 4, 2021
This is surprisingly delicious, including the burnt pieces. I omitted the panko (but would have used my keto chicharrones panko if I had it with me), knowing the panko was totally unnecessary. I would make again. Each person can eat 1-2 leeks.
Hmoshman May 9, 2021
I made this again and used pork rind bread crumbs. Toasting the bread crumb mixture is not necessary. The cheese melted and made it clump together.
Nathan C. April 9, 2018
Made this tonight. Perfect pairing of lemon and leek. My son and I ate the whole plateful. Thanks!
cocos C. June 29, 2015
We love leeks at our house and this is a great, simple way to eat them. Super satisfying side to almost any meat. Thanks for the inspiration!
Virginia M. April 9, 2015
This is a great stovetop dish to make while you roast something in the oven. Paired it tonight with Barbara Kafka's roasted chicken and it was a hit! It will definitely be added to the rotation.
Laura W. January 6, 2015
Just made this last night with roasted chicken...a delicious, easy and elegant side dish!
AKeyte July 21, 2014
Not my favourite way to make leek, but it tasted good. Next time I'll leave the panko topping to the side, as I didn't like how the topping lost its "crispness" after sprinkling on the lemon-covered leeks.
toddbob3 March 3, 2014
These were great! Fantastic recipe!
Juliebell February 15, 2014
This is an easy and very delicious side to roasted meat or poultry. I had a bit of the panko mix left over and used it on roasted asperagus. Thanks for a real winner!
amber W. February 17, 2014
Such a great idea! I will do that next time I have roasted veggies leftover! Thanks so much for sharing!
Shirl March 17, 2014
Amber, this is one that a friend gave me that is delcious. We did love the leek recipe, too.
Breaded Asparagus (oven)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Make sure the asparagus is pretty wet to get the flour to stick.
Dredge the asparagus in the flour, dip them in the egg and then into a mixture of the panko breadcrumbs,
parmesan, salt and pepper. Hubby and I did a fun assembly line. :D
Place the asparagus on a wire rack on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425 oven until golden brown,
about 7-13 minutes.
My hubby made a sauce by mixing mayonnaise, ketchup, and dijonaise.
amber W. March 17, 2014
Thanks so much for this recipe! It looks wonderful and such a lovely dish to make with my favorite springtime veggies, asparagus!
Barie July 11, 2013
WOW! This was absolutely divine. The lemon and the leek are soul mates! The panko/parm topping was delish - will make this again and again and again.
amber W. July 11, 2013
So glad you loved the leeks! Thank you!
Shirl May 14, 2013
This sounds divine. I love leeks and have them in the garden. One of my favorite recipes is a potato leek soup that I make frequently.
amber W. May 14, 2013
Oh I hope you love it!
petitbleu March 26, 2013
Making these tonight to go with leftover lamb shawarma. They smell amazing thus far! I cannot wait to bite into these!
amber W. March 30, 2013
Oh that sounds like a lovely meal! Enjoy!
QueenOfGreen March 1, 2013
This. Bubbly. And a movie. Perfect Friday night. Thank you!
amber W. March 2, 2013
You're welcome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Boolene February 13, 2013
Did not have any parsley. Used cilantro. Gave the leeks an Asian flare. Figured it would be okay with Panko and it was. Loved the simplicity. Great dish.
amber W. February 13, 2013
Oh I need to try the dish with cilantro and lime juice to substitute the parsley and lemon juice next time I make it! Great addition!
chop C. February 10, 2013
Made this for dinner. Delicious and simple.
Sara F. February 5, 2013
Made these last night - they're GREAT!
amber W. February 5, 2013
So happy you enjoyed them!
Sara F. February 5, 2013
Sooooo good!
Thank you!
amber W. February 5, 2013
It was my pleasure to share this recipe!
ortolan February 3, 2013
I just made these tonight!, they were wonderful Verdict: even if the technique as written doesn't sound like a braise, the end effect, if you will, definitely can be called "braised." One would never argue with the finished result. I served this with a romesco sauce I made earlier and the combination was utterly divine. I would add salt to the leeks while they were braising, as I didn't want to completely cover them with the bread crumb mixture to rely on the only seasonings.
amber W. February 3, 2013
Sounds like an awesome combination with a romesco sauce! Must try now...
Summer O. February 1, 2013
amber W. February 3, 2013
Thank you so much!
creamtea February 1, 2013
Looks delicious!
jifferb February 1, 2013
MMMMMM! made these today and they are fantastic! And I thought they cooked perfectly, I wouldn't change a thing! Harvest Queen, maybe if you cooked them for the last 25 minutes at a lower temperature that would help. Thank you for the excellent recipe! And I am loving your blog!
amber W. February 1, 2013
I am so pleased that you liked the leeks! Thank you so much for the complement about my blog!