Broiled Leeks with Fresh Apple Vinaigrette


When heirloom apples arrive to the markets, we know Autumn has arrived.  Southern California might be scarce with decidious, fall-colored leaved trees, but the slight chills and touch of dry air to the nose is a clear sign that Summer has retreated to Fall.

An annual tradition for us during the last week of September is take a much needed day off and trek up to Solvang and the San Ynez Valley, our favorite local apple picking regions. This area is our Autumn playground where we go hopping from one apple grove to another, searching for crispy, sweet varieties of apples to fill our bags. Best part about these apple orchards is that you only pay for what you put in the bag, so it’s not unusual for us to chomp away on apples plucked from their branches before we check-out. Samples are included all day.

With apple season in full swing, our kitchen is always decorated with gorgeous apple specimens from green, to pink, to red and everything in between. The timing could not have been any better this year because of a new cookbook, The Comfort of Apples, that was sent to us from the amazing cooking instructor couple Phil and Lauren Ruben of Two Peas and a Pot.

The Comfort of Apples cookbook is brimming with seasonal apple recipes from comforting savories to simple, yet elegant desserts. With Fall Fest in full swing, it wasn’t difficult to be inspired by apples this week, especially with The Comfort of Apples recipes to choose from.

The flavor of broiled leeks are fabulous and to add the delicate touch of a sweet and tangy apple vinaigrette is pure genius. Actually, we can’t decide which is “more genius”, the apple vinaigrette and charred leek combo, or just making the vinaigrette from fresh apples. When blended together, the apple acts as a perfect emulsifier between the oil and vinegar, and the apple’s sweet-tart flavor adds a special flavor component to the vinaigrette.

The flavor of the vinaigrette can vary as much as the different apples varieties tastes please the palate.  And it makes the freshly made vinaigrette seem more autumn apropos.  Vinaigrettes made with lemon, lime or other citrus are so beautifully bright and summery but the apples give the dressing a more rounded palate.  It’s kinda like changing up from a Sidecar as the evening cocktail, to a Calvados Sidecar.  Both are delicious, but they each have their perfect season.

Broiled Leeks with Apple Vinaigrette Recipe

Yield: Serves 2

Total Time: 20 minutes

Adapted from The Comfort of Apples, Phil and Lauren Ruben
This recipe has so much wonderful flavor and texture, it's the perfect side dish for any occasion. The apple vinaigrette is equally versatile for any salad.


For the Leeks:

  • 4 large leeks, washed well and trimmed, discard of dark green leaves
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For the Apple Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped shallot
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper


For the apple vinaigrette:

  1. Combine all ingredients except for salt and pepper in a blender. Pulse well until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    For the Leeks:

  1. Bring pot of salted water to boil. Fill large bowl with ice water.
  2. Cut each of the washed leeks in half, stopping at the root so the leek remains intact. Rinse well again. Tie the leeks into snug bundles of 4 with kitchen twine. Boil leeks for about 6 minutes or until tender and immediately transfer to ice bath to cool. Once cooled, remove and drain the leeks, then untie the string. **Pat the leeks dry. Cut leeks in half lengthwise.
  3. Preheat the broiler to high. Oil a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over 2 teaspoons of salt. Line the leek halves in a single layer on the baking sheet cut side up and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Position the baking sheet on a rack 6 inches from the heat source. Broil until lightly charred, about 6 minutes. Serve the leeks on a platter drizzled with the vinaigrette.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Rachel

    Just made this for dinner and it was quite good. I steamed the leaks as I didn’t have string and didn’t want them to come apart in the water, and it worked okay. The vinaigrette was fantastic and I will definitely put it into my salad dressing rotation.

  2. Jennifer @ Maple n Cornbread

    I love leeks broiled or baked. This vinaigrette sounds amazing!

  3. Kathryn

    Hey! Just stopping by to let you know we’re giving away a signed Sandra Lee cookbook with 1,001 recipes over at Chew on That! We’d love for you to enter! The giveaway ends on Halloween, so hurry over! 🙂

  4. Vivian

    Fixed this last night, and it was so yummy!!! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  5. Jessica

    Yum! This sounds wonderful! I’m going to have to try it! BTW – your photos are amazing! Such a great eye for composition. I love the one of the apple in the basket. It’s stunning!

  6. Briana

    Beautiful photos!

    Please check out Uncle Marvin’s “foolproof” apple pie recipe at:

  7. Paula

    This looked so good I wanted to make it but didn’t have leeks.
    Made it with butternut squash and apple slices and added dried sage to the dressing. The dressing really made the dish.

  8. Leah

    I am so excited to participate in Fall Fest 2010 with my apple butter recipe:

  9. Veronika Rojas

    Lovely post. The pictures are gorgeous!

    Here is my contribution to Fall Fest:

  10. Julie @ The Avocado Pit

    What a fascinating combination. I love leeks any which way, but charred with an apple vinaigrette sounds particularly lovely. To celebrate apples this week for fall fest, and for my husbands birthday, I went for sweet and traditional. I made an apple and almond crumb tart.

  11. Jo

    This recipe has me drooling! Here is my apple recipe contribution; Pork tenderloin with an apple butter rub with apple salsa.

  12. Stephanie

    I love the simplicity of this vinaigrette. In fact, I’m eating it right now….
    well, actually, I’m slurping off my plate.
    The salad is history.
    Here’s my contribution : Apple Cake recipe : sale–

  13. Mindy

    What a great recipe! It’s now on my must-try list.

  14. Tara

    What a great idea – apple vinaigrette! And I’ve even got a plot of leeks I’ve been wondering when I’ll get inspired to harvest. Looks like I’ve found my answer!

    Here’s my most recent apple-related post:
    Apple picking, apple butter, and living in Maine. All reasons I love Fall.

  15. Stephanie @ Dollop of Cream

    Apple vinaigrette — what a good idea! My contribution to fall fest this week is a homey apple chutney — perfect with a creamy cheese dolloped on a cracker:

  16. marla {family fresh cooking}

    We also can’t get enough beautiful apples over here. My kids smack away loudly on them all the time. They giggle at how crispy they are when they munch. I never would have thought to pair roasted leeks with an apple vinaigrette-sounds amazing. Very cool how you take us on a journey away from citrus vinaigrettes that have become so familiar. Must try this one asap. xo

  17. A Davis

    Not to be ungrateful for the wonderful post, but please, I beg you….
    More Nail Shop Eats!

  18. vegetarianirvana

    Love the rustic vibe of your pics. I had fun making this recipe for the fall fest.

  19. Margaret Roach

    Some days, I just come here to be visually transported by color and light; other days to drool; others to do both. Speaking of drooling, I’ve been doing some over the same new cookbook that caught your eye — asking myself if I have room for one more on the shelf (yes! always! even when there’s no more actual room!) and now I am going to succumb, seeing it here, too. xoxoxoxo

  20. Leah

    We also used to take trips up to the Santa Ynez Valley with our kids when they were younger to pick apples. Now that they’re older and busy with other activities, it’s more difficult to find the time. It’s unfortunate, because we really enjoyed doing it. The apples from that region are some of the best we’ve ever tasted (right on par with the wines). I can’t think of a better way to spend an autumn weekend than to go wine tasting and apple picking with the family!

    I haven’t had the time yet this year to write an apple post, but here are a few from the past with recipes that are sure to please every apple lover out there.

    Apple Gouda Quesadillas with Spicy (Spiked) Cider:

    Chipotle Apple Pecan Cake with the most sublime Spicy Caramel Glaze:

    Apple-Almond Upside Down Cake:

  21. Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops)

    Going to print this out to put on our menu this weekend ! Can’t begin to say how excited I am at the thought of apple vinaigrette

  22. Rachel

    What have I been baking this morning? Apple cinnamon bran muffins! They’re cooling on the counter right now. I’ve already had one as my late-morning snack and they’re delicious! Lots of local apple love, hand-picked by my at the orchard down the road, went into these babies:

    Yum! I love leeks!

  23. Liam O'Malley

    This looks fabulous. It’s like an adult/gourmet version of celery and peanut butter. Love it!

  24. napa farmhouse 1885/diane

    the top apple photo is beautiful! the recipe sounds delicious and the vinaigrette would be so good on many fall salads. i still make your fig balsamic reduction every fall…will add this one to the list…
    i posted a recipe for apple & pear crisp…and reposted a recipe from a couple of years ago… roasted apple and caramelized onion au gratin soup , which has become a favorite in our home…

  25. Kathleen

    That is a wonderful recipe. I made a few things for Fall Fest apple week, but then I am always making something with apples. raisins-and-walnuts/

  26. Feast on the Cheap

    Gorgeous photos…

    Woohoo Apple Season! I’ve been taking advantage of the autumnal bounty with a Apple, Raisin & Celery Seed Slaw.

  27. Carolyn Binder

    Hi WORC! This is just a beautiful post! I was reminded of my childhood in New England, where we looked forward to our annual apple picking day every fall. We would eat apples all day long as we climbed the trees to pluck and pick.

  28. Liz @ LBBakes

    Can you believe I’ve never had leeks? I live in a bubble! I think this will be a great way to try them.

    I made pumpkin & apple shortcake last week!

  29. Angie

    I love the recipe, but I love even more the idea of the train case in the photo, gotta try it! I have two sitting around, what a great use.

  30. Fuji Mama

    I just printed out the recipe. After your description, I just can’t help myself–we’re going to be having it for dinner with a roasted chicken!

  31. Maria

    Apples are one of my favorite things about fall. I need to use leeks more often, thanks for the reminder:)

    I just made an apple cake from Dorie’s new cookbook:

  32. Prerna@IndianSimmer

    Love that basket of apples in the top photograph! I’m so bummed I was not able to contribute anything for this week’s fall fest 🙁

  33. Ranjani

    This recipe looks really interesting. I haven’t done much with leeks in the past, and I’ll look forward to trying this.
    This week I made brie, apple, and arugula quesadillas:

  34. TheKitchenWitch

    The leek dish looks and sounds amazing, but of course, my attention was immediately riveted to “Apple Sidecar.” 🙂

  35. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    One of my most memorable soups was an apple-leek, so I already know I’m going to love this flavor combination.

    Thanks for hosting Fall Fest! My contribution just might be the simplest: Classic Homemade Applesauce. It’s part of my week-long series on Canning 101. Enjoy!

  36. Purple Cook

    For Fall Fest:
    Our early apple picking led to some great treats at our house. My post on apples has three great recipes, apple muffins for the kids, an ooey gooey cake that is to die for, and a traditional apple pie. There is one more idea on there waiting to come to life, a frozen apple pie filling.
    Happy Apple Crunching!

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