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
• 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.’