Ash-roasted leeks, caper & tarragon dressing

Ash-roasted leeks, caper and tarragon dressing

  • serves 4
  • A little effort

This recipe for ash-roasted leeks, caper and tarragon dressing comes from restaurant John Doe, a British brasserie in Notting Hill. This would work really well on your BBQ. If you’re not lighting your BBQ, you can use a grill pan, but the leeks won’t be as smoky.



  • leeks 4 large
  • shallots 2, finely diced
  • garlic 1 clove, finely diced
  • red chilli 1 tsp of  finely chopped
  • thyme 1 sprig, leaves picked
  • light olive oil
  • red wine vinegar 1 tsp
  • passata 2 tbsp
  • capers 1 heaped tbsp
  • tarragon ½ small bunch, leaves picked and chopped


  • Step 1

    Light the BBQ or heat a griddle pan to very hot.

  • Step 2

    To make the dressing, fry the shallot, garlic, chilli and thyme in 1 tsp olive oil, in a small pan, until soft but colourless.Add the vinegar, let it bubble and evaporate, then add the passata, remove from the heat, and gently blend together with 50ml olive oil using a stick blender. To finish the dressing, stir in the capers and tarragon and season well.

  • Step 3

    Trim the green parts from the tops of the leeks. When the coals are nicely glowing (or the grill pan is very hot), add the leeks directly onto the coals. Every 4 minutes, rotate the leeks 45 degrees.

  • Step 4

    The leeks should be completely blackened on the outside but soft to the squeeze after about 45 minutes in a pan (30 on the coals). Leave the leeks to cool. When cool enough to handle, hold the leeks at the top and strip off the outer layer toward the root as if peeling a banana. Wipe away any remaining burnt outer layers gently, and cut each leek into three equal-sized pieces.

  • Step 5

    To finish cooking, get the BBQ coals white hot, or the grill pan very hot, put the leeks on the grill and turn until each side has marks. Serve with the dressing spooned over and a sprinkle of sea salt.