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This starter is quite unique and can easily be prepared in 2 steps. I found it in the February 2024 issue of Saveurs a French magazine. It was created by Audrey Cosson who is a culinary author and designer. Her recipes usually enable interchanging its ingredients, so if you feel like being creative, you can add your personal touch.


27 March 2024
: 30 min
: 55 min
: 1 hr 25 min
: Easy

The British leek is at its best from November through to April.



5 young leeks of similar widths

800 g labneh

2 organic oranges

3 dill sprigs

1 TBS brown sugar

2 TBS vinegar

3 TBS olive oil

40 g butter

1 TBS salted capers

Sea salt and pepper

FOR THE CRUNCHY PART: 50 g flour, 50 g butter, 25 g parmesan, 2 TBS roasted buckwheat.

UTENSILS: an orange press, a pan, a skillet, wax paper.

  • Step 1 Squeeze one orange. Store the juice.
  • Step 2 Wash the leeks, remove the tips, only keep a bit of greens (keep the rest of the greens for a soup for example), and cut them in logs. Blanch for 5 minutes in boiling salted water and drain thoroughly. Melt butter in the skillet to fry the blanched leeks a few minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir until they are evenly caramelized. Pour the vinegar in, 15 cl of water and the orange juice, add salt, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Once the leeks are tender, remove from the skillet and reduce the juices on high-heat for 5 minutes. This step can be prepared ahead of time, the leeks and sauce having to be stored separately in the refrigerator.
  • Step 3 To prepare the crunchy part, pre-heat the oven to 200°. Roast the buckwheat seeds in a skillet. Then mix with the flour and the parmesan together with the softened chunks of butter with the tip of your fingers, and spread this crumbly preparation on a baking sheet. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, checking from time to time so it doesn’t burn, remove from the oven and let it cool down.
  • Step 4 Take the dill leaves and finely chop them. Set in a bowl with the labneh and 1 TBS of oil, salt and pepper and stir. Chop the desalted capers, pour them in a bowl along with the leeks reduced juice, the zest as well as the juice of the second orange, and 2 TBS of olive oil, and stir well.
  • Step 5 When you are ready to serve, share the labneh in four soup plates or serve it all in a large dish, place the leeks on top, pour the sauce on top, sprinkle with the crunchy buckwheat preparation, and with the orange zest.

Good to know!

Labneh is a kind of thick yogurt made with goat, sheep or even sometimes cow’s milk. It is one of the authentic ingredients used in oriental cuisine, and is traditionally mixed with a dash of olive oil and of za’atar.

If you don’t find any, here is what I do: mix 800g of quality Greek yogurt with a bit of sea salt, pour it in a cheesecloth, in a fine strainer or even a coffee filter, and cover. Place this preparation over a bowl to enable the yogurt to drain and keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours. You will get a soft and rich cream, and you will have made yourself a nice homemade labneh! I did replace dill leaves by cilantro or buckwheat by oatmeal on some occasions, I even substantially reduced the butter quantity when cooking the leeks, or only used 500 g of Greek yogurt to make my labneh, it worked too!

Using only half the quantity of the crunchy preparation is good enough to me. The other half can be stored in the refrigerator and used mixed with other seeds in a green salad.


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