Charred leek with kale creme
Mascarpone & Hazelnuts
As part of some Christmas specials, a few more fancy pancy, yet simple, recipes. Easy to prepare in advance, and still something quite culinary that you will impress your friends or family with. This recipe uses some of my favourite winter ingredients, leek and kale. Perfect as a starter. And if you’re into soft goat cheese, you might like to use in instead of the mascarpone. I think that would go really well!
2 large thick leeks
300 gr kale
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground nutmeg
12 tbs neutral tasting oil (sunflower for example)
salt and pepper
3 tbs mascarpone or soft goat cheese
3 tbs full fat yoghurt (Preferably greek)
A handful of hazelnuts
You can either char the leeks by placing them on a BBQ or in the oven using the grill mode. It doesn’t matter, as long as they turn almost fully black on the outside. Then leave to cool down and set aside.
To make the kale creme, preheat a pot of heavily salted boiling water (as salt as the sea). Blanch the kale for 3 minutes, then drain and press out the moist in a colander. Transfer into a food processor together with the garlic, juice of half a lemon, ground nutmeg, neutral tasting oil, salt and pepper. Blitz up until smooth and check for seasoning (lemon, nutmeg, salt, pepper). You can try placing a spoon of the kale creme on a white plate and see if the oil runs out a little bit. If not, add a bit more oil.
Mix together the mascarpone (or soft goat cheese) with the yoghurt and season with a good pinch of salt. It has to taste light, fresh, yet cheesy.
Carefully use a knife to make a thin cut lengthways through the leeks, by just scoring the outside layer. Open up the leek and take out the soft white inside. Slice into +-6 cm portions (3 per leek). Season with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. If you have a gas burner you could slightly burn the outside layer like I did on the photo.
Toast the hazelnuts in a pan, then chop up a little. Time for presentation: Start by placing 1 large tablespoon of the kale creme just left on the centre of the plate. Then place 1 tablespoon of the mascarpone mixture next to it. Carefully place the leek right in-between the two of them and finish off with the crushed hazelnuts. Time to surprise your guests. Happy Christmas!