As the British Leeks Ambassador, Julie is an expert in making the most out of this under-appreciated vegetable. This recipe certainly offers something different and a treat, without it being that difficult to do!
Leeks remain seasonal throughout the winter months, meaning they have very low carbon emissions compared to other vegetables. Overall, each serving has just 8.5% of your fair daily emissions, making this a very low carbon recipe.
We think you’ll like this recipe so much that we’ve included it in our 2021 Veganuary Recipe Guide.
This recipe makes approximately 10 wantons and serves 2 with salad.
For the cauliflower ‘rice’:
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ head of cauliflower, grated to a fine ‘rice’ like texture – (keep the leaves for a pesto)
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp sea salt
Gently heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the crushed garlic over medium to low heat, until translucent.
Add the paprika and cayenne pepper to the saucepan and fry for 1 minute, to release the spices.
Add the grated cauliflower and fry over medium heat, stirring to combine with the spices. Approx. 1-2 minutes is enough. You want to make sure that the cauliflower does not become too dry.
Add the oregano, and sea salt and stir through. Set aside to cool whilst you make the wanton wrappers.
For the leek wanton wrappers:
- 10 leek leaves – dark green part
- 1 – 2 leek lengths of the white part, cut in half and laid flat
- Water for blanching
You want to make sure that you separate the leek leaves so that they can be laid flat, and cut into a square, so you need to ensure each leaf still has a ‘spine’. To do this, cut lengthways down the centre of the leek leaves, on one side only, along the entire length.
Gently separate the leek leaves, and lay them as flat as possible. They will still be slightly rigid, which is okay at this point.
Trim off any rough edges of the leaves, and discard.
Cut the leaves into squares, approximately 8cm square.
Prepare 2 saucepans with cold water, approximately 4 cm height of water in each.
Boil the water in only one of the saucepans, leaving the other water cold.
Once the water has boiled in the one saucepan, reduce the heat to a very low simmer.
You will now very quickly blanche each square of leek leaf in the simmering water, to make them pliable enough to form into a wanton. This will take only 3-4 seconds. To do this, take 2 leek leaf squares at a time and plunge them in the boiling water for 3 seconds. Then immediately plunge them in the saucepan of cold water. Then place each on a dry board to dry out.
Take a cloth and gently blot the excess water from the leek leaf squares.
Repeat until all squares have been blanched. They are now pliable enough to form wantons.
Once you have removed the excess water from the wanton wrappers you are ready to cut the ties from the white part of the leek.
Cutting horizontally down the white part of leek, cut a thin ribbon approx. ½ cm wide. Cut the ribbon the full length of the leek. Repeat until you have enough ribbons for each of the leek leaf squares, with 1-2 extra spare, to account for any possible breakages. You want to make sure each ribbon is about 15 – 20 cm in length, and as long as possible.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
With each leek leaf square lying flat on a board, ensure each is laid out like a diamond shape. Work with each individually, and take a toothpick and gently poke a small hole in the leek leaf in diagonally opposite corners of the square.
Take a leek ‘ribbon’ and thread it through the right hand hole in the leek square first, towards the left hand hole. Thread it through the left hand hole, and make sure the ends of the ribbon are protruding evenly on each side.
Now you can fill the leek leaf wanton wrapper. Using a teaspoon, take a tsp of your filling and place it in the centre of the leek leaf.
Take the ribbon on either side of the filled leek leaf wanton wrapper and gently pull them together and tie in a single knot, then a double knot.
Trim the excess ribbon with some scissors, so that only approx. 1-1.5 cm ends remain.
Place the wantons on a lined baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven, just until the leek leaf wanton is tender, approx. 6-8 minutes
Remove and serve – serving suggestions: serve on a bed of salad, cous cous or pearl barley, with some fresh herbs and fresh vinaigrette.