I love farmers markets. Because I never leave the West End, I had no idea that there was a winter farmers market at Nat Bailey stadium. Score. Farmers markets are great because sometimes they write the jokes themselves:

Ya know?

I went to buy some leeks, and the farmer said to me "did you know that the roots are the tastiest, most flavourful part of the leek? Most farmers cut them off, but I highly recommend you fry them in a little olive oil and see what you think". Sold.

I love the idea of getting multiple applications out of one ingredient. Look at this pretty thing:

I also got a bag of garlic chives for a buck, and thought they would make a great combo:

Leek Root Bird's Nest

Roots of 4 leeks
Fistful of finely chopped garlic chives
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Peppercorn medley, ground in a mortar and pestle.

Trim leek roots off leeks and rinse thoroughly. Fill  a bowl with lukewarm water and allow roots to soak for about half an hour, so all the dirt floats to the bottom. Drain and set aside.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high and pan-fry roots, flipping with a spatula until brown on both sides, about 7 minutes total. In the last minute, add garlic chives to the centre of the "nest" and allow to wilt slightly. Remove from heat and plate. Dress with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper medley (a mix of pink, green and black peppercorns.

Slightly crunchy, filling and very flavourful, the roots are like leeks concentrated, and absolutely delicious. I will for sure look for more of these at future markets.

Now I have the leeks themselves to use. Stay tuned!