Cooler weather is around the corner. Time to add a warm, versatile dish into the mix! Flavorful leeks are a great vegetarian option, or ideal for your favorite fish like seared salmon, or sea bass. Enjoy with a buttery Chardonnay, and the ones you love.

Braised Leeks
· 2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned, and halved lengthwise, green cut off
· 1 tablespoon of olive oil
· 1 tablespoon of butter
· ½ lemon, juice
· TT (To Taste) Salt and Pepper

Crispy Panko Topping
· 1/4 cup panko
· 1 tablespoon parsley, fresh, leaves only, finely chiffonade
· 2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
· TT salt and pepper

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.

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.

Kyle Pafford is the executive chef at Atlantic Shores Retirement Community.