Charred Leeks and Muhammara
Charred leeks are a favorite in spring, served with a smokey dip like muhammara. It reminds me of the Catalan ceremonial charring of wintered leeks (Calcotada) and Romesco as one practices their porron skills.
Charred Leeks and Muhammara
- 2 pound of leeks
1 Tbsp Curcumade blend
- 1 Tbsp fine sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 large peppers (either red or yellow)
- 1 cup toasted/chopped walnuts
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (or regular if you can’t find panko)
1 Tbsp tahini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tsp date syrup (or pomegranate syrup or maple if you can’t find Date/Pom)
- ½ tsp Pimentón (or regular if you can’t find smoked paprika)
- 2 tsp Aleppo pepper (or chili flakes if you can’t find Aleppo)
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- Preheat the broiler to high heat.
- Split each leek in half lengthwise, leaving root ends and the outer layer of leek intact.
- Give the leeks a good rinse under running water, holding the leeks so that the water runs from root downward to flush out any dirt. Trim the length to remove the tough green ends.
Combine the Curcumade and salt together.
- Prepare a broiler safe tray with the clean leeks.
Brush the leeks lightly with oil on their cut side and season with the Curcumade salt mixture.
- Turn the leeks seasoned side down and place the leeks under the broiler to char the outer green leaves, about 10 minutes. This charring infuses smokey flavor into the leeks once these tough, charred layers are peeled away.
- Turn the leeks over and place the tray under the broiler again until the leeks are golden brown and tender.
Leave the leeks to cool while the muhammara is being prepared.
- Reduce the broiler to medium heat.
- Cut the peppers in their natural sections and remove the core and seeds.
Place the rack in upper third of oven and heat broiler. Broil peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, turning the tray as needed, until skins are blackened and flesh is softened, 12–15 minutes.
- Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic to allow to steam for about 10 minutes (this step will make it far easier to remove the pepper skin).
- Peel the peppers when ready and place them in a food processor with the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, oil, Aleppo pepper, tahini, paprika, toasted walnuts, and date syrup and puree until mostly smooth.
- Season to taste with salt.
Serving the dish:
- Spread the muhammara onto a platter using the flat side of a spoon and shape the center lower than the sides.
Peel the charred outer layer from the leeks and cut any very long leeks in half. Arrange the tender caramelized leeks in the center of the muhammara platter and enjoy!
The muhammara is delicious on its own or served as a side dish like hummus. Muhammara goes well with torn pita bread as well as grilled fish dishes and roasted vegetables like mushrooms in addition to the leeks. It’s a great fridge staple and gets thicker and richer in flavor as it chills overnight and is even better the next day.
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