Grilled leeks with chèvre

Shining a spotlight on a delicious vegetable!

Garden-fresh leeks have an absolutely gorgeous flavour and this week I had the privilege of working with spectacular leeks from Avonmore Berry Farm at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market as part of my Farmers’ Feast Challenge basket for August. I find leeks are sometimes a neglected vegetable. They make behind-the-scenes appearances, often finely sliced, in all sorts of soup recipes, but rarely do I seem them served in a more showy, intact format.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized leeks
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) chopped celery leaves*
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) crumbled chèvre

*Mint or parsley would be good substitutes for celery leaves.

Method

  • Bring a large pot of water, along with the coarse salt, to a boil.
  • Preheat barbeque to hot (approximately 425F).
  • While water is heating, cut off the tough, leafy green end of the leeks and trim just a tiny slice off the very bottom of each one. You’ll be cooking just the white/pale green portion.
  • Split the leeks lengthwise, using a sharp knife.
  • Gently pry the layers of the leek apart at the top (green end) and run them under cold water to rinse out the dirt hiding between the layers.
  • Place the split, cleaned leeks in a steamer basket. This will help the leeks stay intact while you blanch them; blanching ensures they do not have to stay on the grill for too long to be thoroughly cooked.
  • When the water is boiling, lower the steamer basket into the pot; the water should just cover the leeks.
  • Blanch for 3 minutes then carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot.
  • Gently transfer the leeks to a paper towel lined plate. Pat dry and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Grill over high heat for 3 – 5 minutes per side.
  • Place grilled leeks on a serving plate and drizzle with rice vinegar. Top with pepper, crumbled chèvre and finely chopped celery leaves, mint or parsley.

Serves 4 as a side dish or appetizer.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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