Yotam Ottolenghi's Leeks with Miso and Chive Salsa

Give leeks the Ottolenghi treatment with this vegan flavour-packed starter or side of leeks dressed with a miso and chive salsa.

From the book

Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by &
Ottolenghi FLAVOUR
A guide to unlocking the complex flavour in simple vegetables
With a focus on creative cooking processes and clever ingredient pairing
Including recipes for everything from midweek meals to weekend feasts

Introduction

The punchy salsa is the star here, pairing wonderfully well with the mild sweetness of the leeks. You can also use it to dress new potatoes, or to drizzle over tofu, fish or chicken. The fried leek tops and garlic add aroma and crunch, but, if you want to avoid deep-frying, you can easily leave them out and simply serve the leeks with the salsa. They will go well with the turnip cake in Ottolenghi FLAVOUR, for example, or alongside fried tofu or roasted meats.

The salsa can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept in a sealed jar in the fridge. Don’t steam the leeks too long before serving, as they can lose their colour.

Serves 4 as a starter
Easy

Ingredients

12 (2.1kg) medium leeks
300ml sunflower oil, for deep-frying
1¼ tsp cornflour
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced on a mandolin, if you have one, or by hand
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and flaked sea salt
For the miso and chive salsa:
15g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1½ tbsp mixed black and white sesame seeds, very well toasted
15g chives, finely chopped, plus an extra tsp to serve
1½ tbsp white miso paste
60ml mirin
¾ tbsp rice vinegar

Instructions

1. Remove and discard the tough outer layers of the leeks then wash the leeks well to remove any grit. Cut off and reserve the darker green tops of the leeks so each leek is about 22cm long.

2. Finely slice 60g of the reserved green leek tops into 8cm-long, thin strips. Rinse very well to remove any grit, then dry thoroughly and set aside.

3. For the salsa, pound the ginger and ¼ teaspoon of flaked salt into a paste using a pestle and mortar (or with the side of a knife). Put into a small bowl along with all the remaining salsa ingredients, stir well to combine, and set aside.

4. Half fill a pot (large enough to fit the length of the leeks lying down) with lightly salted water and place on a medium-high heat. Once simmering, add the leeks and reduce the heat to medium. Place a lid smaller than the saucepan on top of the leeks, weighing them down so they don’t float above the surface of the water. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until a knife goes through easily but they still hold their shape. Transfer the leeks to a colander and stand them vertically so they drain thoroughly.

5. While the leeks are draining, put the sunflower oil into a medium, highsided saucepan on a medium-high heat and line a plate with kitchen paper. Toss the dried, sliced green leek tops with 1 teaspoon of cornflour. Once the oil is very hot (170°C if you have a temperature probe), add the leek tops and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring with a fork, until golden and crispy. Transfer to the paper-lined plate with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with some flaked salt. Toss the garlic with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of cornflour and fry for about a minute, stirring frequently to separate the slices, until crisp and golden-brown. Add to the fried leeks and sprinkle with flaked salt.

6. Arrange the leeks on a large plate and spoon over the miso salsa. Drizzle over the olive oil and top with the fried leeks and garlic. Sprinkle with the extra chives and serve.

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