Sunday, November 25, 2012

Leeks Vinaigrette

If I am home alone for lunch or dinner, I often turn to this addictive recipe for leeks vinaigrette.  It has everything I love in a recipe: Ease, bold flavors and a focus on the main vegetable.  I'll often prepare it and lap up the entire pan myself in one sitting.  But don't be fooled by my gluttony, it serves as a great side-dish to grilled white fish, roasted chicken or even a quiche at brunch.  Since it can be enjoyed warm or at room temp, it's perfectly versatile. 

It is a messy dish, bright and bold in your mouth but all slopped together on your plate, and that's a large part of the charm.

If you are anything like me, when you read Molly of Orangette's blog-post, you'll wish that it had been you living in Paris, and that it was your host mother preparing the original dish.

Note about cleaning: If you cook with leeks ever, the recipe below includes leek cleaning instructions that were kitchen-changing for me.

Leeks Vinaigrette
Courtesy of Orangette 
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. salt, or more to taste
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small to medium shallot, minced
  • 2 lb. small leeks (about 7 or 8) 
  • Optional garnish: Finely chopped bacon or finely chopped hard-boiled egg
  • In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar with the mustard and salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Taste and add the remaining vinegar if  it needs it. Mix in the shallots and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it REALLY well. The key, as Molly puts it, is that it should taste like sea water.
  • While the water comes to a boil, trim off almost the entire root of the leek keeping the stalk in tact. Remove the dark green leafy parts, leaving just white and pale green parts. 
  • Next, for the best leek cleaning trick ever, I've copy and pasted exactly from Molly : "Starting about 1 inch from the root end, so as to keep the white part intact, cut lengthwise down the middle of the leek. Wash the leeks well under running water, flushing any dirt from between the layers." 
  • Add the leeks to the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes until they are nearly falling apart. 
  • Drain the leeks well, transfer them to a clean kitchen towel or paper towels on the counter and blot dry. 
  • While still hot toss them with a generous amount of the dressing.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature, with more dressing spooned on top and a pinch or two of salt. For a fuller meal, garnish with bacon and/or chopped egg.
leeks vinaigrette

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