Two Speedy and Versatile Sides

Thumbing through our latest issue of Fine Cooking Magazine, Russ spotted these two mouth-watering sides. We adore leeks and mushrooms equally, so we decided then and there we wanted to make both of them for dinner during the upcoming week.

The intent was to pair them with two beautiful lamb steaks recently purchased from Aaron’s at the Newtown Farmer’s Market. Pan-searing the lamb would take as little time as cooking the veggies, so it was a perfect combo all around.

The simplest way to pan-sear a steak is to brown it in a real hot, oven-safe skillet for a few minutes on each side, then pop the skillet into a 400 degree preheated oven for 7-10 minutes depending on how you like your meat and how thick the steaks are.

The lamb steaks are seared on each side for a few minutes in a real hot skillet.

Russ checks the meat temperature after 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Not a lamb aficionado? Try pairing them with beef steaks, braised chicken, or enjoy sans anything else as a vegetarian meal.


Poached Leeks with Capers and Mustard Vinaigrette

This classic but quick French side dish gives leeks, often thought of as a supporting player, their own star turn. We found that the leeks were not tender enough after 5-7 minutes of boiling. It took ours twice that long, but I guess it would depend on how thick they were to start with.


  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of granulated sugar
  • 4 large leeks, roots and dark green tops trimmed
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1-1/2 tsp. finely chopped drained capers

Optional: Mash 1 anchovy in bowl before whisking in remaining vinaigrette ingredients.

After trimming and cleaning, slice the leeks in half down to 1-inch above the root end.

After nearly 15 minutes, the tender leeks drain on paper towels.

The luscious mustardy vinaigrette, parsley and capers dress the leeks.


In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, a generous pinch of pepper, and the sugar. Slowly whisk in the oil.

Halve the leeks lengthwise to 1 inch above the root ends, leaving the ends intact, and rinse well. Bring the leeks to a boil in salted water, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, slice through the root ends, and place cut side down on paper towels to drain more.

Transfer the leeks to a platter cut side up and spoon the vinaigrette over them. Sprinkle with the parsley and capers and serve.

by Laraine Perri from Fine Cooking


Pan-Roasted Garlic-Butter Mushrooms

This quick side dish coaxes amazing flavor out of mushrooms with the oven’s high heat and the addition of a few simple ingredients. The ‘shrooms were so delicious, I could make a meal out of them alone!


  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved, if large
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Mushrooms, parsley and garlic are added to the hot butter an oil for a few minutes.

After 8 minutes in a real hot oven, the mushrooms are ready for plating.

The mustardy leeks and garlic mushrooms made great plate pals!


  1. Heat the oven to 450°F.
  2. In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet, heat the butter and canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, 2 Tbs. of the parsley, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
  3. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add wine and transfer to the oven. Roast until tender, about 8 minutes.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and the remaining 2 Tbs. parsley.

by Julissa Roberts from Fine Cooking


A BONUS: There was plenty of lamb leftover so later in the week we had salads for dinner that utilized the leftover meat, leeks and mushrooms. We added some sliced radishes, yellow grape tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese, and for dressing, we just made more of the mustardy vinaigrette. Perfect, quick weeknight meal with very little clean-up!

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