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Grilled Baby Leek, Green Garlic and Roast Lamb Sandwiches

Among the treasures of spring and early summer are baby leeks and green garlic. The leeks are harvested when they are about the same width as a finger, and the garlic is pulled when it resembles a green onion, with the bulbous base barely formed. Their flavors are mild and delicate and particularly tasty when the vegetables are grilled briefly. If green garlic is unavailable, substitute one clove of regular garlic for each green garlic bulb.

Ingredients:

  • 8 baby leeks
  • 8 stalks green garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and then minced
  • 4 pieces rosemary or other herb-flavored
      focaccia, each about 4 inches square
  • 3/4 lb. roast lamb, thinly sliced and warmed
  • 4 butter lettuce leaves

Directions:

Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

Trim the leeks and the green garlic stalks to about 6 inches long, and slit them lengthwise about three-fourths of the way through. Lay them in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with the olive oil and 1/4 tsp. each of the salt and pepper. Turn the leeks and green garlic in the oil to coat them well. Let stand for at least 15 minutes or up to several hours before grilling.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, minced garlic and the remaining 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

When the fire is ready, lay the leeks and green garlic on the grill rack. Grill until browned on the undersides, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until golden and crisp at the edges, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a cutting board and chop; keep warm.

Cut each focaccia square in half horizontally to make 2 pieces for each sandwich. Spread the cut side of each half with some of the mayonnaise. Sprinkle the bottom half of each square with one-fourth of the chopped leeks and garlic. Top with one-fourth of the sliced lamb and 1 lettuce leaf. Top with the other half of the focaccia square, mayonnaise side down. Cut the sandwiches on the diagonal and serve warm.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Cooking from the Farmers' Market, by Georgeanne Brennan (Time-Life Books, 1999).