Salad of chargrilled leeks and red onions with mozzarella
It may only be a salad, but it looks far more impressive. Take note as we unravel the secrets of creating a healthy dish with a twist.
Ingredients A pinch of caster sugar Salt and pepper, to taste 24 young leeks, trimmed 2 red onions, cut into wedges 2x 200g mozzarella balls, cut into 4 slices each
For the dressing 4 tbsp tarragon vinegar 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon 50ml extra virgin olive oil 1 tomato, deseeded and finely diced 1 tbsp fine capers, rinsed and drained 1 tbsp stoned green olives, finely chopped 1 hard-boiled free-range egg, shelled and finely chopped
Method • Make the dressing first. Combine all the ingredients and leave for an hour or so for the flavours to come together. • Bring a large pan of water to the boil with the sugar and a little salt. Throw in the leeks, return to the boil and cook gently for two to three minutes. Drain them well and dry on a cloth. • Grill the leeks and onions on a hot, ridged cast-iron griddle pan. When they are tender and slightly blackened, remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. • Toss the leeks and onions in most of the dressing, then divide between four plates. Arrange two slices of mozzarella over each portion, sprinkle the remaining dressing and serve.
Tip from the top
‘The thing I love most about this dish is the dressing; I sometimes serve it with plain little gem lettuce and some croûtons or, even better, warm French beans and seared tuna or salmon. You can change this salad totally by adding smoked chicken or plainly cooked chicken. You could also use a mild British cheese instead of the mozzarella.’