- 16 young leeks (2cm thick)
- 35 ml olive oil
- 2 onions, unpeeled
- 250 ml brown veal stock
- 100 gm veal bone marrow, sliced
- 200 gm Gruyère or cheddar, cut into 1cm cubes
- For coating: seasoned plain flour
- 1 egg, whisked with 75ml pouring cream
- 150 gm fine dry breadcrumbs
- For deep-frying: vegetable oil
- To serve: piment d’Espelette (see note)
- 1Preheat oven to 220C. Trim leeks, leaving 2cm of green and wash well. Place leeks side by side in a deep-sided frying pan, cover with water (about 1 litre), drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil, season to taste, bring to the simmer and poach over low heat until tender (10-12 minutes). Remove from liquid, drain, halve crossways and set aside.
- 2Meanwhile, halve onion root to tip, place cut-side down on a baking tray lined with lightly oiled baking paper and bake until flat surface is golden (15-20 minutes). Transfer to a saucepan, just cover with veal stock, season to taste and simmer over medium heat until onions are tender, adding bone marrow in the last 2 minutes (30-40 minutes). Set aside in cooking liquid and keep warm.
- 3Place seasoned flour, egg mixture and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Working with a cube of cheese at a time, coat with flour, then dip into egg mixture and finally coat with breadcrumbs, shake off excess then set aside on a plate ready for frying.
- 4Heat char-grill or barbecue over medium-high heat, lightly oil poached leeks with remaining olive oil and grill, turning occasionally, to char (5-7 minutes).
- 5Meanwhile, remove all but 20ml cooking liquid from onion mixture and reduce in a separate saucepan over high heat to a thick gravy consistency (2-3 minutes).
- 6Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 180C. Deep-fry cheese cubes in batches until golden (1-2 minutes, take care, hot oil may spit). Drain on absorbent paper.
- 7To serve, arrange onions and leeks on plates with bone marrow, pour gravy over, scatter cheese cubes over and season to taste with piment d’Espelette.
Note Piment d'Espelette is French dried, flaked chilli and is available from herbies.com.au.
Drink Suggestion: 2012 Francois Cotat Sancerre “Caillottes” Sauvignon Blanc.