A Plate Full of Veggies: Wild Leek and Couscous Loaf

| April/May 2011

Green, garlicky and fresh, wild leeks are native to forests of the eastern United States and Canada and are at their peak for a short time in the spring. If you plan to seek out these tiny, flavorful herbs, be sure to take only a very small number (one shovel full!) from the outer edges of the patch. This ensures that there will be more to enjoy for years to come.

For this recipe, if using cultivated leeks, you will need one (or two if small). Trim away root end and dark green leaves, split in half lengthwise, clean under cool running water, drain and pat dry. Cut one of the halves in half lengthwise and set the long piece of leek aside to garnish the loaf pan. Chop and measure the remaining leek and use in place of the wild leeks in the recipe. MAKES 1 LOAF

• 1⁄3 cup chopped wild leeks (save 6 whole, with leaves, for garnishing the top)
• 2 cups vegetable stock
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1⁄2 cups couscous
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 tablespoon Asian Five-Spice Seasoning
• 2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
• 1 small zucchini, diced
• 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped

1. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting it overhang on the long sides. Lay two wild leeks on the base of the pan; set aside in a cool place. Set aside remaining whole leeks to use as garnish.

2. In a saucepan, bring vegetable stock to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and stir in salt and couscous. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and red pepper for 6 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, Asian Five-Spice Seasoning, coriander and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add remaining oil and cook the zucchini and mushrooms for 7 minutes, or until soft. Let cool.

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