I’m home again and after eating rather a lot of – organically reared, local and delicious, don’t get me wrong!- meat these past few weeks , I really craved some vegetarian food. This French classic turns the humble leek into something rather exquisite. Blanching and grilling create a wonderfully silky texture and delicate sweetness, not unlike white asparagus, and a tangy vinaigrette with mustard and salty capers is the perfect accompaniment.
Traditionally, this dish is often served with a slice of cured ham, but I decided to leave it out and I didn’t miss it one bit! I served my poireaux vinaigrette with oven-baked celeriac chips, but potatoes would work just as well.
Ingredients (for 2):
5 thin leeks
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 heaped tsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp capers
- Trim the leeks, then halve them length-ways and sideways.
- Boil the leeks for about 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Make the vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients together
- Heat the grill in your oven to maximum, put the leeks on a baking tray and drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle on a bit of salt. Grill for 5-10 minutes (or till the edges turn dark brown and crispy.
- Meanwhile, poach your eggs: add a bit of vinegar to a pan of boiling water, take a big soup ladle, submerge it and carefully crack your egg in it, make sure it doesn’t stick to the inside of the spoon and hold still until the white is set. Drain on some kitchen paper.
- To serve: arrange the leeks on a plate, drizzle with vinaigrette, add the egg and some coarse sea salt and enjoy!