Here’s a dish, currently on the menu at Relæ in Copenhagen, winners of the Sustainable Restaurant Award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and the only certified organic Michelin-starred restaurant. It uses all parts of the leek – so the white stem part for the soft leek, as well as the green part of the leek, for the emulsion. Relæ also uses Marine Stewardship Council certified Limfjord oysters. The Glyngøre Shellfish fishes them six weeks of the year, and keeps them in tanks run by solar power. The idea being that the “green energy” turns into “blue energy” because the pumps take water from the sea to run through the tanks. You can see from the photo – these are serious oysters – literally the size of your hand!
18 leeks, roots trimmed off and green leaves removed and reserved for Leek Emulsion
Green leaves from 18 large leeks
500g neutral vegetable oil
1 soft poached egg (cooked at 65c for 25 minutes)
50g egg yolks
25g lemon juice
6 oysters, shucked, cleaned and sliced into 0.5cm lengths, oyster juice strained and reserved
Place a large pot of heavily salted water on high heat until it reaches a rolling boil. Blanch the leeks until the cores of the leeks are really soft, but not mushy, approximately 12-16 minutes, depending on the size of the leeks. Transfer the leeks in salted ice water to cool. Drain then make an incision, lengthwise, into each leek so that you can separate the inner core and the outer layers of the leeks. Reserve the inner cores, and cut them into 2-cm lengths. Take the outer layers of the leeks and place them flat into a steamer, in about 5-sheet stacks and steam the leeks until they are soft enough to break when you pinch them between your fingers, approximately 12-16 minutes. Cool the leek sheets.
Preheat the oven to 280c. Place the green leaves in a single layer on baking trays and bake in the oven until they become completely charred, and crispy, approximately 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool. Once cooled, crush the dried leaves into a rough powder. To make the oil infusion, place 100g of the crushed dried green leaves, into a thermal blender, with 500g of neutral vegetable oil. Set the blender to 80c, and blend on high speed until it reaches 80c. Once it reaches 80c, blend for 10 minutes more. Strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer, and allow to cool. Place the poached egg and egg yolk in a blender, and finely stream in the cooled oil to emulsify. Season with lemon juice and salt.
Dress the reserved pieces of soft leek inner pieces with the leek emulsion until well coated and creamy. Season with lemon juice and salt and place 4-5 pieces in the center of the plate. On top, place the slices of oyster, season the oyster with salt, and 2 sprays of lemon juice, then squeeze on more of the leek emulsion on top of the oyster. Take the soft leek outer layers, and make folds on top of the oyster, making several layers resembling and oyster shell. Season the oyster juice with lemon juice, and brush on top of the leek, and season with salt and 3 sprays of lemon juice.