Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

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.

Leek-y Romesco Crostini

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

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.

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.

Heat up the oil in a sautee 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.

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.

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.

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

Printable Recipe


Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

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. OMG amazing recipe and beautiful pictures, Well done !


  4. Oh no! I hope you find the source before the spring rains hit … ugh, disaster!


  5. 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!


  6. That sauce sounds so good! I love Romsesco so much.. I used to make it all the time when when I was the chef at a wine bar.

    Good luck with the unwanted leek!


  7. 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! (:


  8. 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.


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


  10. 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.


  11. Can’t wait to try this. Looks soooo delicious.


  12. Wow your pics always amaze me, they look gorgeous. Everything looks delicious


  13. 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.


  14. 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!


  15. Sorry to hear about the leak. The leeks however, yum!


  16. Hannah I always love reading your posts. You are such a brilliant writer. I’m sorry for the leak but I’m glad it inspired a special leek recipe.


  17. 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.


  18. the sauce, and the leek are so perfect~ I am now very curious to try this combination out!


  19. Ick on the leak, but mmmm those leeks look great! The romesco is just so bright and beautiful!


  20. 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!


  21. Hello! This looks like a great idea – a modern take on the calcotada!!(


  22. Well, at least it is a leek-y dish not in a leaky house anymore :)


  23. Glad the leaking stopped and even more glad you’re sharing these leeks 8p. I’ve been wanting to try a romesco-style sauce for a long time and yours looks just perfect.


  24. Thanks for sharing your recipe for romesco sauce! I cant wait to try it.


  25. 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.


  26. Bummer to have a leak, hope it’s all fix now. But what a beautiful leek though! Love the simple preparation! :-)


  27. Your romesco looks awesome! So sorry about your roof though – that is no fun! I’m amazed that you turned a drippy ceiling into inspiration.


  28. 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!


  29. 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!

    MMMMMMM,… I recently moved my blog to Come over @ my blog & check it out! You must update your RSS too!


  30. Looks mouth watering. Hope your leaky ceiling is fixed by now.


  31. Funny story! Your crostini are mouth watering. My stomach is actually grumbling looking at the photos.


  32. Pingback: Cafe Zupas » Blog Archive » how to: clean leeks

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