Ajillo with Japanese Leek and Nagaimo

Ajillo with Japanese Leek and Nagaimo

I love ajillo. In this one, I added Japanese leek, nagaimo and whole cloves of garlic. This combination might be unusual but it's very tasty.

Ingredients: 2 to 3 servings / using a 20 cm grilling pan

Extra virgin olive oil (look at Step 14)
250 ml
Garlics (peel each clove/ look at Step 16)...A
1 bulb (not 1 clove)
Japanese leek (cut into 4 to 5-cm lengths)
about 50 cm long
Nagaimo (peel and slice into 1 cm thick half rounds or quarter rounds if it is large)
about 5 cm long
Red chilli (sliced)...B
as needed
Anchovy fillets...B
3 to 4 (adjust according to the salt content of anchovies / to suit your taste)
Natural Salt (or Krazy Salt) …C
to taste
as needed
Black pepper
to taste
Italian parsley (other herbs or none)
as needed


1. Put A ingredients into a cold frying pan. Place over a low heat. Cook slowly until the garlic and Japanese leek infuse their flavour into the oil.
2. When the bottom parts of the garlic and Japanese leek soaked in oil are golden brown, turn over. If they are not cooked evenly, swap the positions.
3. After turning over Step 2, add the B ingredients. Cook slowly over a low heat. Anchovies are going to melt down slowly.
4. When the garlic and nagaimo are tender, turn the heat off. Stir quickly and check the taste. Season with the C ingredients.
5. [Additional note] Even if you use the same amount of anchovies, the amount of salt which the ingredients will absorb differs according to the timing at which you add the anchovies.
6. According to one user, you can season the ajillo by adding a little chopped anchovies along with the C ingredients in Step 4.
7. When it tastes the way you like, add the Italian parsley and bring back to the boil quickly.
8. Sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper and serve while very hot. Serve with French baguette.
9. I love this sweet and soft Japanese leek. Japanese leek is a staple ingredient for my ajillo dishes.
10. You won't believe how tender and fluffy the nagaimo will be...for ajillo, I prefer nagaimo to potatoes.
11. Usually you add chopped garlic to ajillo but I like it with them as whole cloves because they will be fluffy and tasty. It is a great combination with anchovies.
12. I usually serve ajillo in the same dish I cooked with. Or you can make a large batch and divide into small ramekins. You can use any dishes you like to serve this.
13. (Recipe ID: 2493785) for ajillo with Japanese leek, dried tomatoes and seafood in a 10 cm pot. Look at this recipe to know the resultant quantity you will make.
14. [Additional note] The amount of olive oil in Step 1 is suitable for a 20-cm grilling pan, and this covers half of the 2 cm in diameter Japanese leek.
15. By adding the nagaimo later in this recipe, plenty of oil will be left in the resultant dish as in the profile photo. Add more oil if you like.
16. If you add more oil, add more anchovies too. (Recipe ID: 2493785) has more oil. Adjust the amounts accordingly ...
17. I used whole cloves of garlic but use chopped garlic if you prefer. If so, reduce the amount to 2 cloves.

Story Behind this Recipe

Everybody in my family loves ajillo so I often make this.
We like normal leeks but we can't get them in Japan, so use Japanese leeks instead. I like to combine the Japanese leeks with other ingredients in ajillo dishes.
They are rather unique combinations, but you can make this dish with the usual ingredients you have at home, and people love it, so I decided to upload this recipe.