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Enrico Tomelleri's braised leek in saor and stracciatella

This recipe for braised leek, served in a Venetian vinaigrette with stracciatella, is a bowl of comfort.

By Enrico Tomelleri
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 30 mins cooking (infusing, chilling)
  • Serves 6
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Photo: Alicia Taylor
"[Co-owner and head chef] Enrico tried leek in vinaigrette in a bistro in Paris and loved it," says Giorgio De Maria, co-owner of Sydney's Paski Vineria Popolare. "He adapted it to a Venetian version – in saor – an agrodolce or sweet and sour dish." Braising the leeks gives them a soft, almost gooey consistency. Juxtaposed with the crunch of the breadcrumbs, this vegetable celebration is well worth the effort.


  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 small leeks, washed, trimmed
  • 60 gm pine nuts, roasted
  • 500 gm stracciatella (see note)
  • Finely grated parmesan, to serve
  • 2½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 600 gm white onions, thinly sliced
  • 200 ml white wine vinegar
  • 30 gm caster sugar
  • 5 each juniper berries and black peppercorns
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 60 gm currants
  • 150 gm day-old sourdough bread, crusts removed, torn
  • 3 thyme sprigs. plus extra to serve
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil


  • 1
    For saor, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring frequently, until translucent with no colour (15 minutes). Stir in vinegar, sugar, juniper berries, peppercorns, and bay with 100ml water and 20gm sea salt flakes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until reduced by two-thirds (6 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in currants; set aside.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for breadcrumbs, preheat oven to 160˚C. Place bread and thyme on an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season to taste and toss to combine; roast until lightly golden and dry (15 minutes). Transfer to a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs.
  • 3
    Bring a large saucepan with 2 litres water, 80gm salt, peppercorns and bay to the boil. Add leeks; reduce heat to medium, cover with a cartouche and simmer until tender (15 minutes). Drain, halve leeks lengthways and place in a deep container. Spoon over saor, cover and refrigerate until chilled (30 minutes).
  • 4
    To serve, bring leeks to room temperature. Place leeks on a large platter and spoon over saor. Scatter with breadcrumbs, pine nuts and top with stracciatella, finely grated parmesan,and extra thyme. Drizzle with olive oil.


Note Stracciatella is available from cheese shops. If unavailable, substitute burrata.
Wine suggestion Siemàn Incrocio Wild Sour Ale with Grapes, Veneto

  • undefined: Enrico Tomelleri