Melted Leek Toasts with Stracciatella and Pickled Fresno Chiles
Love & Salt - Manhattan Beach, CA
The leeks in this recipe are cooked down to a caramelized spread, making a perfect base for super creamy handmade stracciatella cheese and pickled chiles that balance out this crowd-pleasing toast.
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced, washed, and drained
- Kosher salt to taste
- Cracked black pepper to taste
Pickled Fresno Chiles:
- 1 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 small dried bay leaves
- 2 ounces (about 3) whole Fresno chiles
- French baguette, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
- Olive oil, as needed
- 1/2 cup stracciatella or burrata cheese per toast
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Make the melted leeks: in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sweat them slowly, stirring constantly until the leeks are extremely tender, about 30 minutes. Keep the heat very low to make sure the leeks do not achieve any color. Set aside to cool.
Pickle the Fresno chiles: combine all the ingredients (except for the chiles) in a small pot, and bring to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chiles and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the chiles soften but still hold their shape. Let them cool in the liquid. Once they have cooled, remove the seeds and julienne.
Toast the bread: in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, toast the baguette slices in olive oil until just they are golden brown on both sides, but still soft and chewy in the center, about 1 minute per side.
To assemble: in a saucepan, gently warm the leeks. Spread about 2 teaspoons of the warmed leeks on one side of each toast. Top each of the leek-covered toasts with 2 teaspoons of stracciatella or burrata cheese.
Follow that by topping each toast with approximately a 1/2 teaspoon of the pickled peppers (use more if you prefer extra spice). Drizzle each toast with a little extra virgin olive oil and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and a touch of freshly cracked black pepper.