This simple dish makes a hero of its main ingredient: young leeks. Look out for leeks about as thick as your finger - they'll be tender and subtly sweet. Soak them in cold water for about 20 minutes before cooking to remove any dirt and grit stored in their many layers.
- 12 quail eggs, at room temperature
- 30 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 70 ml olive oil
- 50 gm coarse crustless brioche crumbs
- Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, juice of ½
- 12 young leeks, trimmed, halved and soaked
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Champagne vinegar
- 30 gm salted baby capers, rinsed well
- 30 gm cornichons, finely chopped
- 1Boil quail eggs until cooked to your liking (2-3 minutes for soft yolks), drain, refresh under cold running water, then peel, halve and set aside.
- 2Heat butter and 30ml oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add brioche crumbs and stir occasionally until golden brown and crisp (1-2 minutes), stir in lemon rind, season to taste and set aside.
- 3Cook leeks in a wide saucepan of simmering salted water until bright green and just tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife (10-12 minutes). Drain and refresh under cold water, drain well again, pat dry with absorbent paper, then arrange on a serving platter.
- 4Combine mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and remaining oil in a screw-top jar and shake until emulsified, then season to taste and add capers and cornichons.
- 5Spoon dressing over leeks, top with quail eggs, scatter with brioche crumbs, and serve.
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