Easy and original ideas with leeks to eat in January

  • In mustard sauce, grilled with shrimp ‘tartare’, in the form of a vegetable cannelloni…

The leeks They have always carried the sanbenito of being secondary actors in the kitchen. However, after spending much (too much) time in the shadow of their first brothers, garlic and onion, it is time for them to come to the fore. In recent times, leeks They have gained more and more presence on restaurant menus. The month of January, when it is coldest, is its peak season. It is understandable, because it is a vegetable that has all the qualities to be included in spoon dishes, soups or in simple baked preparations, so grateful when the thermometer touches the minimum.

We ran into him in haute cuisine restaurants, like in Sale Moncalvillo (Daroca de Rioja, La Rioja), a Michelin star restaurant that has its own vegetable garden. There the cook Ignatius Echapresto He prepares it in marinade, presented with trout and pickles. In auret, located in the Hotel Hilton Diagonal Mar in Barcelona and which also has a star from the Rioja Guide, the chef Arthur Martinez too pickles it and accompanies it with a ginger mayonnaise. In good eating houses like Ramon’s Kitchen (Logroño, La Rioja) we ran into the cooked and roasted leeks with almond cream, a classic recipe in a version by chef Ramón Piñeiro. In The base (Valencia), a place devoted to market cuisine, the chefs Jesus Gor Y Borja Parellada they prepare them roasted, accompanied by a hollandaise sauce and truffle.

In mustard sauce or as vegetable cannelloni

In Madrid, Frank Vincent he offers them in his restaurant Miga Cana, recently opened in the Vallehermoso Market. He prepares them covered by an old mustard sauce. “It’s a simple recipe. You have to remove the green part of the leeks and cook them for about 20 minutes in salted water. While they are cooking, we prepare a thick vinaigrette with extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. We remove the leeks from the pot when they are tender, drain them and leave them well covered with that vinaigrette for two days in the refrigerator. At the time of serving them, we temper them by giving them a heat shock in the microwave. We can accompany them with an anchovy, a smoked sardine or simply a little Maldon salt & rdquor ;, he explains. A creamy dish in which the leek shows all its elegance.

But Vicente proposes more ideas to prepare leeks and make them tasty and appetizing. “We can cook them as if they were calçots. We bake them for 40 minutes at 200 degrees with a little salt and pepper, until the outside is charred. We remove that part that has been burned and we eat them with a romesco-type sauce, but with toasted pine nuts instead of hazelnuts…”. It also encourages them to prepare with them some vegetable cannelloni: “The plan is to change the pasta for the leek itself, cooking it beforehand. Then you have to carefully remove the sheets and leave it hollow to fill it with a farce based on bechamel and mushroom, for example & rdquor ;.

With shrimp ‘tartar’ or in cream with truffle

Another recently opened restaurant in Madrid is Terracotta, where leeks are the base -pun intended- of one of the most surprising dishes on the menu. “We prepare them charcoal and place a prawn ‘tartare’ on them along with seasonal vegetables and sprouts. We previously confit the leeks in olive oil at a low temperature for a couple of hours to preserve all the flavours. Next, we mark them on the grill to give them a smoky touch. At the time of serving, we prepare the prawn ‘tartare’ and put it on top, mixed with the seasonal vegetables that we choose and sprouts to taste”, he says Carlos Nunez, gastronomic consultant of the restaurant. The result is impeccable, with a pleasant mix of textures and flavors.

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Núñez also encourages preparing at home a cream with leeks “including the green part of the stem, which is the part that is always thrown away, potato and a little truffle & rdquor ;. Another simple idea he proposes is to make the leek “whole and open in the oven, adding dry tomato, black olive and Parmesan cheese”. A single vegetable, a universe of possibilities.


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