Before the holiday season, I noticed my growing cookbook collection was severely lacking any titles by Mark Bittman. I made it known to friends and family that filling this gap was a priority. Now with the holidays and my birthday behind me, my library is pretty Bittman-heavy. Rummaging through such a bounty of new recipes can be daunting, so I'm taking a methodical approach. My first course of action is to flip to the index of How to Cook Everything and see what grilling treasures lie within.
A recipe for grilled leeks perked my interest as an accompaniment to the Korean-style steaks on my menu. The Bittman recipe called for the leeks to be grilled over high heat until tender, then topped with a fairly standard vinaigrette, but to better fit my dinner, I replaced some of the vinaigrette's ingredients with Asian counterparts.
A mixture of shallots, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, Chinese spicy mustard, and olive oil topped my leeks after coming off the grill. Although the flavors fit rather seamlessly into my meal, I piled the vinaigrette on a little too heavily, which overpowered the delicate oniony flavor of the leeks. A mere drizzle, or a simple brush of soy sauce as recommended by Bittman, would have sufficed and made these leeks a perfect side.
Grilled Leeks with Asian Vinaigrette
- 3 or 4 leeks, split, trimmed and cleaned
- Dark Sesame Oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese spicy mustard
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat grill to high heat. While the grill is heating, brush leeks lightly with sesame oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill leeks, turning occasionally, until nicely browned all over and very tender, 5 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle the vinaigrette over the leeks just before serving. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.