Grilled Leeks and Stewed Garlic on Toast
This recipe, a favorite of Erin Cannon-Chave's, is based on one in Alice Waters's Chez Panisse Vegetables.
Yield: serves 6-8
- Salt, preferably fleur de sel
- 6 small leeks, whites and pale green parts only
- 7-9 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- 6 slices crusty country bread
- 4-5 anchovy filets (optional), cut into strips
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a medium pot of liberally salted water to a boil. Cut leeks almost in half lengthwise, starting about 2" above base, and wash thoroughly. Add leeks to pot of water and cook over medium heat until soft, 6–8 minutes. Drain well, transfer to a large plate, and allow to cool. Toss leeks with 2 tbsp. of the oil and set aside.
- Preheat a charcoal grill. Meanwhile, put garlic into a small pot, cover with cold water, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat process with fresh water. Drain again and repeat process once more, cooking garlic until very soft but not falling apart, 5–8 minutes. Drain well. Crush garlic with a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste. Stir in 1 tbsp. of the oil and set aside. Grill leeks over medium-hot coals, turning once, until lightly charred in places, 2–3 minutes. Brush bread with 2–3 tbsp. of the oil and grill, turning once, until golden, about 2 minutes. Cut bread crosswise into thirds.
- Spread toasts with garlic paste. Split leeks into thirds lengthwise and top each toast with leeks. Garnish with anchovies, if using, then drizzle each toast with a little more oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.