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Brown Butter Panko Leeks / Ancient Mesopotamia Leeks (VHF)

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

I saw this article from mymodernmet.com on Twitter and it looked so fun. This Professor Bill Sutherland cooked food from a 3,770-year-old Mesopotamian tablet as his recipe book. This goes along with Vintage & Historic Food, but this is way back historic!


I decided to do a dish inspired by a dish with a cool name "Unwinding," which he said was a bit boring -- made with sauteed leeks, spring onions, sourdough crumbs, and cilantro. Instead of sourdough crumbs, I decided to use Panko breadcrumbs and make a brown butter topping. If they had Panko breadcrumbs in Ancient Mesopotamia, they would have used them. Haha! :)

I learned how to make brown butter Panko breadcrumbs for this pasta inspired by Rumpelstiltskin. Check it out! :)


Mesopotamia is where "the world’s earliest civilization developed. The name comes from a Greek word meaning “between rivers,” referring to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, but the region can be broadly defined to include the area that is now eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and most of Iraq."



- 2 Leeks

- 1 tablespoon of butter

- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

- 1/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs

- fresh cilantro

- vegetable oil

There are 2 components to the dish, the Panko topping and the sauteed leeks. You can cook it in the same pan: Panko topping first and then sautee the leeks. If you want, you could use two separate pans.

If you are using one pan, you make the Panko topping first and then set it aside. You do this to make sure that the Panko stays crispy. When you saute the leeks, there may be some moisture and then the Panko would get soggy.

To make the panko topping:

1.) Allow 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan on medium / medium-high to melt.

2.) Add your panko bread crumbs and garlic powder; let them stay there for a minute or so until they get brown and then move them around, so the breadcrumbs are all completely brown. Then set aside.

It's really fast; it takes 1 or 2 minutes.

3.) After you take out the Panko bread crumbs from the pan, you can add more butter or a little oil to the pain.

4.) Clean the leeks and then cut them into slices (which look like an onion, concentric circles).

5.) Then put the leek slices in the pan and leave it on medium for the leeks to saute and soften. It may take 7-10 minutes depending on how many you have. You can cover them with a pan lid.

6.) Add the sauteed leeks to a serving dish and cover with the Panko topping and top with fresh cilantro.

That's it! It's really good! Leeks have a mild onion-y flavor and texture with the crunch of the garlic brown butter Panko topping. It's really good together. It was a nice side dish with this beef skewer I made.

For some other Vintage/Historic Food posts:





For some other leek recipes, check out these:

I probably wouldn't have tried leeks, except I tried to make a version of this Cauliflower & Leek casserole recipe I saw on the TV while I was waiting at the DMV. Haha. :)




Give it a try! We are good at this!

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