Grilled Scallion and Baby Leek Red Wine Sauce

This recipe was originally made with ramps, which is a wild onion which does not grow here in California, and is really delicious and has a season about a month and a half long it seems. This is an approximation of that sauce made with items readily available here-baby leeks and scallions. The sauce is essentially a vinaigrette thickened up with lots of alliums and herbs, and is great for topping meats (this was first made for red wine marinated lamb chops) and fish, or being used on a salad made with flavorful sturdy lettuces such as romaine, Little Gems, and the like.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine – something with a deep sturdy flavor that is briary and full of berry flavor such as an SCMV grenache, graciano, or petite sirah

¾ cup light flavored extra virgin olive oil + more as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon fresh summer savory, chopped finely

1 scant teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

5-6 baby leeks, around 3/8ths inch wide, trimmed to whites and palest green only

Scallions-enough to create a bundle 1½ inches across, rootlets trimmed and discarded, thinly sliced on a 1 inch diagonal

METHOD

Heat a grill to very hot, ensure the grate is ripping hot.

Put the vinegar and wine into a non-reactive bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Add half the fresh herbs and stir in. Allow to macerate.

While the herbs macerate, toss the leek and scallion whites with enough oil to lightly coat them. Place them on the grill over medium-high heat and grill until colored in spots but not charred, and mostly tender throughout. Remove from the grill allow to cool.

While the alliums cool down, vigorously whisk the oil into the vinegar/wine mixture in a slow steady stream to emulsify the dressing. You should now have a standard vinaigrette.

Use a very sharp thin bladed knife to slice the alliums into thin slices. Put these into the dressing and whisk in well to bang them around a bit and release flavor into the dressing.

Add the rest of the herbs and half the scallion tops, and whisk in. Taste to see if you want more scallion tops, and add them a bit at a time until you get the flavor you like best. Remember what you are putting the sauce on when adding the greens as they pack a lot of flavor and you don’t want to overwhelm whatever you are topping with this. If the dressing seems a little flat, try a pinch of salt or a dab of vinegar to make it sing. When you achieve the flavor you are looking for, either leave the sauce out until ready to use (up to an hour or two) or refrigerate until 1 hour before using. Pull sauce/dressing out of fridge 1 hour before using so it tempers.

Yield: A little over 1 cup

Source: Chef Andrew E Cohen