Leek and salsify gratin

60 minutes



  • 600g of salsify root
  • 1 lemon, juiced into a bowl of water
  • 450ml of milk
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 500g of leek, washed and sliced into 1cm rings
  • 30g of butter
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced


  • 60g of butter
  • 60g of flour
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, (optional – omit to make vegetarian)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Tabasco, to taste
  • 150g of mature cheddar, grated
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Crumb topping

  • 30g of Parmesan, (swap for vegetarian hard cheese if preferred)
  • 30g of Panko breadcrumbs
  • freshly ground black pepper


Wash the salsify, scrubbing off any soil, then peel and trim the ends of each baton. Immediately place the peeled salsify into the bowl of lemon water to stop it from going brown
Bring the milk to the boil in a pan with a bay leaf and add the salsify batons. Simmer for 6–8 minutes until cooked al dente, then drain and set aside (reserve the milk for later)
Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan with the butter and sauté the leeks and sliced garlic until soft but not coloured
In a separate pan, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter then stir in the flour. Cook until golden and slightly foaming, then slowly whisk in the warm milk reserved from poaching the salsify, continuously whisking to prevent lumps
Stir in the grated cheddar. Once melted and smooth, season with the mustard, Worcestershire sauce (if using), Tabasco, salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Trim the salsify to the size of the ovenproof dish you’ll be using. Roughly slice any trimmings and add to the pan with the leeks
Pour ¾ of the sauce into the leeks and stir to combine, then transfer to an ovenproof dish
Place the trimmed salsify into the remaining sauce and stir to coat. Neatly arrange the salsify on top of the leeks
Mix together the ingredients for the crumb and sprinkle evenly over the salsify. Bake for 25–30 minutes until golden and serve