Poached Leeks and Radishes

Gerald Hirigoyen

Bocadillos and Piperade, San Francisco; Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition (Ten Speed Press, 2009)

Chef Hirigoyen serves this light side with braised veal cheeks.


  • 20 red globe radishes, washed and trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 medium leeks, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Peel the radishes and set aside, reserving the peels. Warm the olive oil in a shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, shallots, and radish peels. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half and is noticeably pink. Remove from heat, strain the sauce into a fresh saucepan, and discard the solids. Heat the sauce over medium heat and add the peeled radishes. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to thoroughly coat the radishes in the sauce. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Generously trim the roots, green ends, and outer leaves off the leeks, leaving approximately 6 inches of fresh young stalk. Reduce the boiling water to a simmer. Add the leeks and poach just until tender, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the leeks to an ice bath or rinse under cold running water for 30 seconds. Set aside on a towel.

Reheat the radishes over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer and cook until nearly all of the liquid in the pan evaporates. Add the butter, swirling the pan gently to glaze the radishes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Warm the extra virgin olive oil in a small sauté pan over low heat. Add the leeks and sauté just until warmed through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the leeks to a cutting board.

Before serving, slice the leeks in half lengthwise. Place the sliced leeks and radishes in a serving bowl. Drizzle with any leftover butter from the pan.


4 servings