Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grilled Leeks with Romesco Sauce

I really enjoy seeking out recipes to make and blog about, but it can be overwhelming at times. I'm very bad at making decisions, I tend to go back and forth on just about everything (I'm sure my family can attest to this!) It actually helps now that I'm vegetarian and cooking only seasonal food because I don't even think about making butternut squash recipes in June! However, making my weekly menu is really hard because I'm not sure what I'll be in the mood for, and don't want to make a recipe I just feel "meh" about. Sometimes I wish I lived in a city with a farmer's market and I could cook on a whim every night, depending on what I'm in the mood for and what's in season.

To be completely honest, nothing makes me happier than when someone sends me a recipe and tells me they think it's something I'd like. Generally they're right (read: keep the suggestions coming!) Last Friday, my sister sent me a link to this recipe, and for some reason, it became exactly what I was craving. Since I make my menu Friday and shop Saturday, it was perfect timing. I made the meal for lunch the following day, and it was so fulfilling. Nothing is worse than feeling a void or regret after a meal, right? 

The original recipe is simply for grilled leeks with romesco sauce, but I wanted to make it a complete meal. After making the tandoori grilled vegetable skewers a few weeks ago, I've been obsessed with grilled cauliflower. I decided that since I was already grilling the leeks, I might as well grill some cauliflower to smother in the delicious sauce! The addition of chick peas was because they were the only beans I had on hand, but they ended up pairing really well with the sauce. 

Tips and Trades:
-Leeks tend to be really sandy and gritty, be sure to wash them really well and make sure you get the sand out! I had to peel back 3 layers to get it all.
-Try this sauce over any grilled vegetable if leeks aren't your favorite! Grilled summer squash or zucchini would be perfect this time of year.
-Red peppers should be plentiful this time of year, so try roasting your own rather than buying jarred. They will taste so fresh and sweet. 

Grilled Leeks with Romesco Sauce
adapted from the New York Times

For the sauce:
1 red bell pepper
2 roma tomatoes
1 1" slice baguette, about 1 oz.
1 garlic clove
1/4 c. toasted almonds
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. herbs of choice (original calls for parsley, I used basil and cilantro, random, but great!) 
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
2 tbsp. EVOO

For the leeks:
6 fat leeks or 12 small
2 tbsp. EVOO

Prepare leeks by trimming and rinsing very well to remove sand and grit.
Place a steamer basket over water, place leeks in basket, turn water on high and steam leeks for 5-10 minutes, depending on thickness. 
Heat grill over high.
Rub tomatoes and pepper with EVOO, place on the grill and char on all sides, turning occasionally.
Remove from the grill, place in an airtight container and let them sit for 5 minutes.
Turn grill to medium heat.
Rub leeks with EVOO, place on the grill, turning every few minutes to char.
Add garlic clove to a food processor and process until pureed.
Add the bread, nuts, red pepper flakes, basil, paprika, red pepper flakes, and vinegar and process, scraping down sides as necessary. 
Peel tomatoes and red pepper, add to food processor, pulse and run to mix.
While food processor is running, add EVOO to create desired consistency.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Plate leeks, spoon sauce over and serve.


"pup" said...

I don't think I have ate a leek before, I have had it in soup (think potato and leek), but have never ate one alone. This dish sounds tasty!!

Joanne said...

I love romesco sauce and the idea of using it as a dip, almost, for all these grilled veggies sounds fantastic! Especially the deliciously buttery leek!