Grilled leek, aubergine and mushrooms

This leek recipe from Steve Drake uses mushrooms and also calls for burnt aubergine, achieved by cooking on an open flame. This gives the vegetable a wonderful smokiness, and a similar technique is employed for making baba ghanoush. Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock to make this magnificent dish vegetarian.

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Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Leeks

Cep soil

Mushroom milk

Aubergine puree

Shallot rings

Garnish

Truffle butter

Equipment

  • Stick blender
  • Muslin cloth
  • Twine

Method

1
For the cep soil, whisk the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to add the remaining ingredients until well combined
2
Using cling film to wrap, roll into 6 equal cylinders and place into the freezer until hard. Once frozen, finely grate onto greaseproof paper and bake at 165˚C/gas mark 3.5 for 3 minutes. Remove and leave in a dry place for later use
3
For the mushroom milk, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and sweat the shallots until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until all the water has been released. Add the white wine and reduce until almost dry, before adding the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half
4
Add the cream and milk and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and season to taste before adding the dried mushrooms, cover with cling film and leaveto infuse for 30 minutes. Strain through a muslin cloth and place into a suitable container. Set aside to chill
5
For the aubergine purée, place the aubergines one by one on an open medium flame (the flame on a stove will do) and blacken. Rotate to evenly colour all over until soft. Remove the stem and blend the remainder of the aubergines with olive oil and lemon juice until smooth. Pass through a fine strainer and season to taste
6
To prepare the leeks, remove the first layer of skin and soak in cold water for 10 minutes. Using twine, tie three of the leeks together and blanch in heavily salted water for 7 minutes. Refresh in ice water
7
Strain the leeks and cut to a length of 10cm and then in half, length-ways. Chargrill on a high heat to achieve a dark brown finish
8
For the shallot rings, slice the shallots on a mandolin to 1mm and soak in milk for 20 minutes. Drain off the milk and coat well in flour. Deep fry at 160˚C until crisp with a little colour. Place on kitchen towel and season with salt
9
For the truffle butter, heat the butter in a pan over a medium heat. As soon as it begins to foam, add the wild mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Shave 4 slices of the truffle and slice finely before adding to the mushrooms with a small dash of lemon juice. Season to taste
10
Place the leek in the middle of plate, grilled-side up. Using a squeeze bottle or piping bag, coat the top of the leek with the aubergine purée. Add a line of the cep soil beside the leek and rest the shallot rings over the top. Place the mushrooms on the opposite side of the leek
11
Warm the mushroom milk in a small saucepan and foam with a stick blender. Use a large spoon to collect the foam off the top and place over the mushrooms. Add a few slices of fresh truffle and serve

Steve Drake started cooking while attending South End Technical College. Only a few years later, he started working his way up the ladder at The Ritz and earned a prestigious Roux Scholarship. Now he cooks at Sorrel, a modern British restaurant in Dorking, Surrey.

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