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My mother-in-law sent Simon Hopkinson’s Roast Chicken a year ago — she was on it before the book was even available stateside — but it still took a New York Times story earlier this month before Hopkinson was solidly on my radar. I’m with the program now, having sampled his savory mince, and having realized just how many of his many recipes are inspired by a single ingredient. I find him especially handy when deliberating over all the pretty but random stuff that got picked up at the farmers market. This particular recipe was perfect for a pile of slim leeks. There are just five essential ingredients, and you have them all. Even better, the whole thing takes minutes to prepare and is interesting enough to serve with a nice dinner, like we did at last weekend’s turkey warm-up.

Recipe: Leeks Vinaigrette

1 hard-boiled egg / 5-6 small leeks, about 1 pound /1 tsp dijon mustard / 1 tbls red wine vinegar / 2 tbls salad oil / 1 tsp chives, optional, minced

Finely mince the egg. Cut leeks an inch into the green portion, then slice in half lengthwise and rinse out mud. Blanch leeks in salted boiling water until tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness, then cool. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and oil. Pour vinagrette over the cut leeks and top with egg and chives if using. Feeds 4 as a side. Serve immediately.

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