Sprung a Leek

Quick to complain and always searching for those little imperfections, it figures that we couldn’t just throw our hands up and celebrate this sudden mid-February thaw. Finally, Isis can actually walk out into the yard without being swallowed up into that white quicksand, and mailboxes are finally extricating themselves from frozen tombs. “Spring” is the word on everyone’s lips, spoken in excited tones, and I can’t hide my enthusiasm either. The winter took a steep toll, the full extent of which is only beginning to reveal itself now, after the storm. Despite all of these encouraging signs outside, all is not well inside.

Walking into the kitchen one day, I noticed a conspicuous wet spot on the tiled floor. Jumping to conclusions I immediately turned to the poor pup, assuming she had an accident in protest of the windy, inhospitable outdoor bathroom that otherwise awaited… But within a few seconds I discovered the real culprit.

Bloop… bloop… bloop…

Turning skywards, it was plain to see that water was dripping at a steady pace from the ceiling. Straight through the beam, down the wall, all across the kitchen counter and floor. Brown, dirty water, melted from snow and ice on the roof, soaking through papers and warping the cabinets. A greater horror in that room, I have yet to see, including my most misguided baking experiments. We had a leak, our first ever in this house, in arguably our most important living space – Not to mention my “office”. Tormented and terrified by these new destructive developments, I could do nothing except strategically position pots and pans to collect the mucky water.

After a solid two weeks of feeling like I’m living in a poorly constructed submarine, it seems that the leak has dripped itself dry, at least for the time being. Fearful glances upward now reveal obscene water damage; peeling paint, multiple holes, and cracked wood, but at the very least, no more water. I’ll take what I can get now, no complaints here.

As an homage to my structurally unsound ceiling, I simply couldn’t resist a very leek-y dish, hoping that perhaps an offering of food would placate the leaky ceiling god. When put in the spotlight, leeks are best prepared very simply if you ask me, and so I kept them fairly plain in this quick appetizer. A little heat to melt them and soften their more pungent edges is all it takes. What elevates the dish to a memorable morsel is the bright red romesco sauce, which provides a slightly spicy pop of creamy roasted pepper to perch those lovely alliums atop.

While I know that this assembly was created with the leeks in mind, I couldn’t help but go back to the romesco sauce, unadorned, for seconds. Versatile to a fault, I’ve already whipped up second and third batches to smoother pasta with, use as a dip, drizzle over salads, thin out for soups… You name it! This is a condiment you’ll want to have on hand at all times- Hopefully you won’t need to be prompted by leaky ceilings to try it the first time.

Yield: Makes About 2 1/2 – 3 Cups Sauce; Servings Vary

Leek-y Romesco Crostini

Leek-y Romesco Crostini

Humble toasts topped with bright red romesco sauce, which provides a slightly spicy pop of creamy roasted pepper to perch lightly sauteed leeks atop.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


Romesco Sauce or Dip:

  • 1/2 Cup Slivered, Toasted Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Wheat Germ
  • 1 Large Clove Garlic, Roasted
  • 2 Medium Red Peppers, Roasted
  • 1/2 Cup Strained Tomatoes / Tomato Puree
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, or to Taste

Sauteed Leeks:

  • 1 Fat Leek, Cleaned and Dark Greens Removed (Save them for making vegetable stock!) (3 1/2 Cups Chopped)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon White Miso Paste (Optional)
  • Pinch Salt and Black Pepper


  • Fresh Baguette, Sliced Thinly (About 1/2 cm Thick) and Lightly Toasted
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Beginning with the romesco, throw all of the ingredients for the sauce into your food processor or blender. Traditionally, it’s a bit of a chunky spread, but I prefer mine perfectly smooth and creamy, so I use my Vita-Mix. Blend to your desired consistency, scraping down the sides of the work bowl periodically so that no large chunks are left behind, and set aside. I find it tastes better if you allow it to sit for at least 2 hours before serving, so that the flavors can meld, but it can be eaten right away too.
  2. For the leek topping, slice your thick leek into quarters lengthwise, and then chop it into 1/2-inch pieces. I love the look of rings or half moons, but it’s not so graceful to take a bite of crostini and end up with a big loop of leek hanging out of your mouth, so resist the temptation to leave the pieces larger.
  3. Heat up the oil in a saute pan over medium heat, loosen up the miso paste in it if using, and toss in the chopped leek. Stir every 5 minutes or so for a total of 20 – 25 minutes, until the leek is soften but not completely mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste, and let cool for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Both the sauce and leek topping can be made in advance as well. Just store both in air-tight containers in the fridge for 4 – 5 days, and assemble the crostini just prior to serving.
  5. To put the crostini together, just smear a healthy dollop of the romesco on top of the toasted bread, and spoon about 1 – 2 tablespoons of the sauteed leek over that. Finish with a very light sprinkling of red pepper flakes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 371mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g

32 thoughts on “Sprung a Leek

  1. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about the leak – I know how horrifying water coming through your ceiling can be (during the 1 1/2 years my husband and I lived in Houston, a tree fell on our house during Hurricane Ike) – but am glad that it has stopped. The romesco sauce with sauteed leeks sounds delicious! A nice consolation for sure :).

  2. Uggg leaks are the worst! I hope there wasn’t too much damage past cosmetic :( Leeks however are wonderful, great way to take a positive spin on things :)

  3. Ugh Hannah that is the WORST! I’m so sorry! Hopefully the warm sunny weather will keep on keeping on for a while! My latest issue of vegetarian times just arrived and there is this whole segment on leeks and how they’re in season! What perfect timing for this fabulous recipe. Romesco sauce is a total favorite around here!

  4. yikes! I hope you have some handy friends that can patch those leaks and repair the damage for you on the cheap, if not we will need to have a Hannah benefit bake sal;e! (:

  5. Sorry about the leak!
    We are just getting a rainstorm which is supposed to be pretty heavy this afternoon out here in California. The wind is already shaking things up pretty good.

    Just made some leek potato bean soup the other night. Leaks remind me of spring. This looks like a lovely appetizer.

  6. This sounds divine. I love romesco sauces, and lately I’ve been really getting into the flavor of leeks. Beautiful!

  7. The dish looks great Hannah, the sauce looks so creamy, velvety and yummy. Admire your spirit to find some humor on the leaked roof and getting inspiration through it. If it was me I would be turing the whole house upside down. Have good weekend.

  8. I think that this would be a lovely appetizer. The sauce and leeks would blend pefectly together. You’re right – it’s such a conincidence to post similar recipes! Though, your sauce looks a lot smoother than mine.

  9. I’m excited for you about Spring too, although that means it will be getting colder here soon :S Which is hardly fair, seeing as “summer” in Australia this year has meant rain, rain, rain, a week of heatwaves, rain, rain, floods, cyclones… bah, humbug!

  10. Sorry about your leak. I hope everyone gets fixed and worked out for you! And I LOVE LEEKS!!! SO good. I love them raw and cooked :) I just love the flavor it provides dishes.

  11. This looks delicious and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I’m sorry to hear about your leak, but find it hilarious and awesome that you used it as inspiration for a leek recipe! Talk about finding the silver lining!

  12. A leak in the kitchen, what a nightmare. I suppose some good came out of it, since you were inspired to create this delicious leek recipe…how to make lemonade, I guess. Thanks for a beautiful blog; I just found you, but I’ll be a regular.

  13. Oh gosh, winter and all its joys, right? I’m sorry to hear about the leak and water damage. On the other hand, I’m thrilled to hear about the leeks and the romesco sauce! Looks like a really flavorful and delicious dish!

  14. What a great & very stylish crostini!! I so much love leeks!! I think people don’t use them enough! I also love the romesco sauce!! It adds a ton of flavour!

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