Master the Art of French Cooking: Delectable Leeks in Classic Vinaigrette

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

Looking for a leek recipe? This versatile and delicious winter vegetable can be transformed into the most delicious French side dish. Leeks are gently poached and then cut in half and dressed with a delicious classic vinaigrette! The leeks become silky soft and tender and they go perfectly with a piquant, sweet mustardy vinaigrette. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!

This is the absolute best side dish to make especially in winter (although it is also a popular summer dish too). Poireaux vinaigrette or Leeks in vinaigrette is a classic French dish that goes well with everything - it can be an entrée, or an accompaniment to meat mains. It goes really well with seafood, chicken, lamb or beef and is fantastic if you are cooking something for Bastille Day (on the 14th of July).

Why I love Making Leek Vinaigrette for Dinner Parties!

1 - Leeks are in season and an absolute steal during Winter. I find them at my local supermarket for $4 for a pack of three smaller leeks! Smaller leeks tend to be a bit more tender so go for those if you have a choice.

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

2 - How much of the leek to use? They often say to use the white part of the leek only but you can also use the light green part of the stem, just trim off the top leaves. You can use the tops in soups and stews.

3 - One of the best things about Leek vinaigrette is great served cold or lukewarm so I usually just leave it on the dining table covered and then uncover it when guests arrive.

4 - Another great thing about leek vinaigrette is that it improves over time so leaving it on the table for a few hours helps the flavours to develop.

5 - Leek vinaigrette can also be made a few days ahead of time, up to 3 days ahead of time. The vinaigrette can also be made ahead of time, 3 days too and the vinaigrette stays emulsified so by all means marinate them together if you want for 3 days.

6 - Leek vinaigrette is also vegan.

7 - I use the fried shallots from the Asian section of the supermarket to garnish along with fresh chives.

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

A friend once arrived at my house with a bag of produce. It was so cute because she was almost embarrassed to give me vegetables but when she pulled out four perfect leeks from her garden I squealed with delight. I know flowers or chocolate are the most common gift (and trust me, I love both) but produce is an underrated one, especially if it is home grown.

A couple of weeks ago Mr NQN had to go into work for most of the week. He usually works from home but they were having an off-site meeting that week that required him to come in from Tuesday to Friday. We don't really live that closeby to a train station and he could take the car but that would mean that I wouldn't have the car if I needed it.

He asked me if I could drive him to the train station in the morning and pick him up at night. The night pick up is fine but he leaves very early and I am not a fan of early mornings at all. I also have a policy that unless I'm flying out or travelling, that I will not wake up to an alarm.

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

"I can't promise that I'll be up," I said to him but we both know that we have a little alarm system in the form of a little dog. Once one of us gets up early and has a shower then Milo takes it upon himself to run around the bedroom like an absolute maniac. Unless you were in the depths of sleep or unconscious you will be woken by it. So every morning Milo wakes me up and I pull on some outside pants over my pjyama bottoms, wrap myself in a big coat around my pyjama top and drive him to the train station bleary eyed in my teddy bear coat. It's lucky I don't have kids because I would be that embarrassing mum at drop off.

"Thank you for driving me to work this week," he said to me on Friday, the last day.

"That's ok, I'm wife of the year aren't I?," I say to him delusionally overstating my contribution to the cause (drama queen? Me?). "You can buy me a present - and not a half eaten bag of beef jerky please," I said reminding him of the last gift he gave me. I always buy him things that I think he will like but Mr NQN isn't a present giver and just never thinks to buy anything so I often have to prompt him.

"You can buy me some flowers," I said pointedly as he was exiting the car. "Errrm ok," he said uncertainly.

I wound down the car window, "Or you can get me a sandwich! Chicken, mayonnaise and lettuce!" I called out. Mr NQN rolled his eyes as I did in fact become that embarrassing wife at drop off. Also because flowers, sandwiches and vegetables are all excellent options as far as I'm concerned and you have to give these guys options.

So tell me Dear Reader, are you a good gift giver? Is your partner much of a gift giver? And what you would like as a small gesture of thanks?

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

Leek Vinaigrette or Poireaux Vinaigrette

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish

  • 2 large leeks
  • 150ml/5flozs extra virgin olive oil
  • 60ml/2flozs sherry vinegar
  • 20ml/0.7flozs balsamic glaze
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 5-6 teaspoons caster or superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons crispy fried shallots
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

Step 1 - Trim the top off the leek and trim the base of the leek of the tendrils (I use a pair of scissors for that) and remove the outermost layer. Place a large pot of salted water onto boil. Cut the leek into three equal lengths and simmer the leeks in the water for 15-20 minutes (depending on how fat they are). You want the layers separated when you pick them up out of the water. Drain on a double layer of paper towels and allow to become cool enough to handle. You can cook the leeks up to 3 days ahead of time.

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette
Layers of leek separated

Step 2 - Place the olive oil, vinegar, balsamic glaze, sugar and mustard in a jar and place the lid on tightly and shake to combine. Taste for seasoning. You can store this in the fridge for up to 3 days if you want.

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

Step 3 - To serve, slice the leeks in half lengthways (I find it easiest to stand the leek on its end and cut down). If the outer layer falls off so be it, it wasn't meant to be. Place cut side up or down (it's your preference, it's your party) on a platter (or two, the platter pictured was one leek) and then brush the top with the vinaigrette. Then spoon the vinaigrette around the leeks. Sprinkle with crispy fried shallots and chives and serve. But you don't have to serve it straight away.

Leek Vinaigrette Poireaux Vinaigrette

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