Katie Newburn
Leeks Rolled in Coals, Buttermilk & Oyster Verde from chef/owner Mark Liberman of AQ Restaurant & Bar and TBD in San Francisco.
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Leeks Rolled in Coals, Buttermilk & Oyster Verde

AQ Restaurant & Bar, San Francisco, Mark Liberman - May 2014

For 4 servings


  • 3 Tbsps. (50g) salt
  • 4 leeks
  1. Heat a grill to high, using oak or almond wood to create a bed of coals.

  2. Mix salt and 4 1/4 cups water in large hotel pan; add leeks; cover with plastic wrap; let stand 2 hours.

  3. Remove leeks from brine; pat dry; place leeks over coals; cook until leeks are softened and charred on the outside (about 30 minutes, depending on size of leeks); remove leeks from coals; place in clean hotel pan; cover tightly with plastic wrap (you want leeks to steam as they cool).

  4. When cool, remove outer layer of ash from leeks; reserve ash; reserve leeks.

Buttermilk sauce:

  • 1 cup (235ml) buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. (.72g) salt

Blend ingredients with 2 oz. (57g) leek ash until smooth; season; cover in airtight container; reserve in refrigerator.


  • 12 Kusshi oysters, shucked
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 Tbsps. (45ml) lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsps. (8g) chervil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. (8g) parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. (8g) tarragon, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. (7g) dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. (9g) salted capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) Sherry vinegar
  • salt
  • flaky sea salt
  1. Heat wood-filled smoker until hot.

  2. Smoke oysters in their liquor 15 minutes; remove oysters from smoker.

  3. Halve each oyster; place in large bowl; add 1/4 cup (59ml) oil, juice, herbs, capers, and vinegar; toss to coat; season; reserve smoked oyster verde in refrigerator.

  4. Heat a grill to high.

  5. Place reserved leeks in a bowl; drizzle with oil; season; grill until leeks are charred and crisp; remove from grill; place on a plate; reserve (keep warm).

  6. To serve, drizzle buttermilk sauce onto warm serving plates; cut leeks into halves lengthwise, then into thirds; divide among plates; top with smoked oyster verde; sprinkle with sea salt.

What to drink: Hans Wirsching Silvaner Trocken 2012