“I remember, when they were young, auld John told Ian it was his job to stand to Jamie’s right, for he must guard his chief’s weaker side in a fight. And he did— they took it verra seriously, the two of them. And I suppose auld John was right, at that,” she added, snipping off the excess thread. “After a time, nobody would fight them, not even the MacNab lads. Jamie and Ian were both fair-sized, and bonny fighters, and when they stood shoulder to shoulder, there was no one could take the pair o’ them down, even if they were outnumbered.”
She laughed suddenly, and smoothed back a lock of hair behind her ear.
“Watch them sometime, when they’re walking the fields together. I dinna suppose they even realize they do it still, but they do. Jamie always moves to the left, so Ian can take up his place on the right, guardin’ the weak side.”
Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 33 – Thy Brother’s Keeper)
Leeks are in season across most of the northern hemisphere at the moment, and I can think of no better way to serve them in all their glory. Fresh out of the pan and sitting beside a roast chicken or beef, don’t be surprised if these unassuming babies emerge from the shadows to become dinner’s star.
If there are any leftover, finely chop and stir into butter for the next night’s steak, stuff them into a nice fresh trout before frying, or add them to a pot of homemade soup bubbling on the stove.
Tender, mild leeks simmered gently in their own juices. The perfect dish to guard the main’s weaker side.
- Leeks, white and light green parts only – 4 to 5 medium
- Butter – 3 Tble
- Fresh Thyme – 1 sprig
Thinly slice leeks on a diagonal. Rinse thoroughly in cold water. Dry in a clean dish towel or salad spinner.
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add sliced leeks, thyme and salt and pepper. Stir to coat well with butter. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Serve hot, alongside your favourite main. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Use white pepper to avoid black specks that will mar the gorgeous green of the leeks.