“My take on this classic dish is probably more of an hors d’oeuvre than a salad, since the classic recipe consists of poached leeks dressed with a French vinaigrette. I like this variation as it offers a little crunch against the soft texture of the leeks and is a really easy entrée to prepare. Leeks vinaigrette also makes a lovely accompaniment to poached salmon with anchovy butter. Put a bowl of steamed kipfler or chat potatoes on the table for guests to help themselves for a perfect simple meal.”
- 12-18 thin leeks, trimmed of all but a trace of the green tops
- 3 eggs, at fridge temperature
- ½ iceberg lettuce, core removed, washed and spin-dried, finely shredded
- ½ cup finely chopped curly-leaf parsley
- 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
- 125 ml extra-virgin olive oil (½ cup)
- 30-40 ml tarragon vinegar or white-wine vinegar, or to taste
- 1Make a 2-3cm incision in the centre of the trimmed green tops of the leeks and place them, green-side down, in cold water. Leave for 10 minutes so that any dirt may be released. Trim off the roots, taking care not to disturb the hard bottoms that hold the leeks together.
- 2Select a wide shallow saucepan that will accommodate the leeks in one layer (or cook them in two batches). Place the leeks in the pan and cover with cold water, adding salt to taste. Be sure the leeks are completely submerged. Bring to the boil over high heat, then cover with a piece of baking paper and simmer gently until the leeks are tender but offer some resistance when pierced with a knife tip (10 minutes). Drain and refresh under cold running water, then stand them, green-side down, in a colander to drain.
- 3Meanwhile, prick the eggs with a pin then lower into a saucepan of boiling water for 9 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water then shell the eggs and chop them coarsely.
- 4To make the vinaigrette, place the mustard, olive oil and 20ml of the vinegar in a screw-top jar with a good pinch of salt and some pepper, then shake well. Taste and adjust with extra vinegar, salt and pepper to achieve a slightly acid finish.
- 5Distribute the shaved iceberg between 6 entrée plates, placing the leeks on top. Moisten with the vinaigrette, then scatter with the egg and parsley and serve immediately.
($59.95, hbk) by Damien Pignolet, with photography by Anson Smart. Published by Lantern, an imprint of Penguin Books. Pignolet’s recipes have been reproduced with minor
This recipe is from the September 2010 issue of