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How to Poach Leeks
Poaching is a gentle process similar to the process of confiting. It’s all about the control you have over the pan. Poaching with the lid on helps poach the leeks evenly from the top and bottom. To par-poach, cook for half the time, take off the heat, and set aside in the poaching liquid. The tougher outside leaves will protect the centers from getting too soft. When you’re ready to serve, bring the leeks back up to a simmer and finish cooking. Test for doneness with the tip of your knife—there should be no resistance. You can also complete the dish ahead of time and serve at room temperature.
Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Grilled and Poached Baby Leeks
Prep Time30 min
Total Time1 hr
Cook Time30 min
The miso broth can be made three days in advance. The vinaigrette can be made three to four days in advance, leaving out the eggs and caviar until ready to plate and serve.
- 16-20 baby leeks
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon for zest
- Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Micro mustard greens, parsley, or chives, cut into batons (optional)
- Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Trim up to ¼ inch off the ends of the leeks to remove the roots are off but leave the stalks intact so the leeks won’t fall apart when grilling. Trim off a few inches of the thick green tops leaving the leeks about half white and light green bottoms and half dark green tops. The scraps can be saved for vegetable stock.
- Place the trimmed leeks all facing the same direction onto a sheet tray. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to toss the leeks to get an even coating of oil and seasoning.
- When the grill starts to smoke, place the leeks on perpendicular to the grill lines. Put two large plates on top to press the leeks to the grill for about 30 seconds. The weight of the plates and the pressure from your hands will help the leeks char along the grill lines. Cook for 2 more minutes or until the grill marks on the leeks are prominent. Take the plates off, flip the leeks over and repeat.
- Once both sides of the leeks are nicely marked, transfer to a sheet tray. Drizzle with a few teaspoons of olive oil and season with more salt and pepper since the leeks will have left some of their flavor stuck to the grill pan. Zest lemon over the leeks.
- When the miso broth has reduced enough to thinly coat the back of a spoon, it is ready to use for poaching. Add the grilled leeks to the pan and turn the heat low heat to simmer, covered. Poach the leeks in the miso broth for 8 to 10 minutes.
- When the leeks give no resistance to the tip of your knife, remove from the broth to a tray.
- Fan the poached leeks in a layer on a platter all laying the same direction widthwise on a rectangle platter. Use a pastry brush to brush a liberal amount of miso broth onto the leeks. Add a second layer of fanned leeks and brush with miso broth. Pour a heaping spoonful of vinaigrette on the empty spaces on both sides of the leeks. Finish with a large pinch of micro mustard greens on top of the leeks.
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