Burnt leeks are having a moment. We’re now barbecuing this ‘boring’ and familiar vegetable in the style of the Catalonian calçot. Leek and potato soup? Forget it, pal.
While the outside is completely charred the insides collapse into buttery softness and you could finish them with lots of different toppings. A Spanish romesco sauce would still be lovely or some grated hard-boiled egg. Maybe bottarga? Crunchy breadcrumbs fried in the oil from a tin of anchovies would be very pleasing or spiced butter, hollandaise, a tahini dressing, miso… yeah lots of things.
The warm yoghurt sauce is not as weird as it sounds because its creamy-sharpness plays off the sweet leeks. I dotted it with some whizzed chipotles in adobo which I made as a base for a hot sauce I’ve been working on for a commission. That fires the whole thing off in a Mexican direction, particularly once garnished with oregano.
We’re coming into grilling season now and I suggest you get involved with grilled leeks because it couldn’t be easier: put them on the grill and take them off when they look f*cked. Simple.
Burnt Leeks with Warm Yoghurt Sauce and Chipotle Recipe
1 egg, lightly beaten
250g full-fat natural yoghurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
50ml hot water (hot from the tap)
2 chipotles in adobo – available online ready-made or I have a recipe for chipotle in adobo on the site here
Heat a barbecue for direct cooking.
When the flames have died down and the coals are covered in a thin layer of grey ash, place the leeks on the grill. Cook for around 10 minutes or so, turning until completely black and charred all over.
Mix together the yoghurt, egg and garlic in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot water. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and simmer gently over medium heat for around 5 minutes. Season.
Whizz the chipotles with a glug of olive oil to make a dressing.
When the leeks are ready, split them down their length and add the warm yoghurt sauce, chipotle dressing and oregano. Lovely served with this fresh flatbread recipe.