To prepare Karsi, or leeks, for Rosheshone, I looked first in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck. I found a recipe that seemed too easy to consider, but I was cooking many difficult things that night already, and I couldn't think of anything else to do with the leeks, and I thought I could allow myself this one indulgence. I am very glad I did. It turns out that leeks cooked in water with butter and salt are significantly better than a pointed stick in one’s eye.
Julia's recipe directs us to slice the leeks lengthwise and lay them sideways in the pan. I decided to cut them crosswise and have them standing on end because I thought that would be pretty. I also cooked the leeks on the stove, but did not finish them in the oven as directed in the original recipe, because I forgot that part. One thing I did not change from the original recipe was the prelapsarian quantity of butter. Julia’s braised leeks recipe uses six tablespoons of butter for twelve leeks. I made half that amount.
Karsi (Leeks)Wash six large leeks and cut off the roots and green tops. Wash the leeks again, as thoroughly as possible, and cut them into 1 inch lengths. Now wash each 1-inch leek-nub carefully under running water telescoping the ends to make sure all of the sand between the layers is washed away.
You might want to remove some outer layers from the upper parts of the leeks. Place the leek-nubs on end in a shallow pan into which they can all fit snugly. Sprinkle with salt, and cut in three tablespoons of butter. Pour water into the pan so that it comes to thirds up the sides of the leeks. Cover the pan loosely and set over a medium fire. Cook the leaks for about 40 minutes, checking periodically to see that they still have enough water. When they are done, they will be very tender and just a tiny bit brown. Sprinkle some parsley over the top, and serve. That's all.
I like leeks plenty, but even I was amazed in the how delicious this was. The leeks become velvety and tender with the long cooking, but I think much of the credit must go to the handsome measure of butter.
The blessing for this vegetable in given in the 1887 Livorno Makhzor is:
יהי רצון . . . שיכרתו אױבֿינו ושׂונאינו וכל מבֿקשי רעתינו, תּרום ידך על צריך וכל אױבֿיך יכרתו.