Leeks with hard boiled eggs in mustard vinaigrette

I love this dish - the colours make it enticing for a start. I don’t remember why it did not make it into the book, but it is perfect for us now. It is old-fashioned French Bistro food, but when I make it at my home in Burgundy my local wine-growing friends always seem so pleased to be reminded of it.



I’ll give the method but not the exact quantities of leeks as they vary in size so much - and in a Pandemic you have to use what is available.


Ingredients:

Whatever number of leeks you, and any companions, can eat.

1 egg per person


Method:

Clean the leeks - cut the ends off and trim coarse dark green leaves. Make a v-shaped cut in the tops and run under cold water to get rid of grit and mud.

Boil a pan of water, salt if you wish, and add the leeks. Small ones will not need long, obviously. Larger ones should be cooked through or they will be too chewy. Use a skewer to test.

Once cooked, drain, and when cool enough, squeeze gently to get rid of residual water. Lay them on a dish.


Boil the egg(s) - I usually put them into cold water and bring them to the boil, leave for a minute, take them off the heat, leave for 1-2 more minutes before submerging in very cold water. This said, the freshness, temperature and size of the egg play a part in getting the timing right, and you probably have your own way to achieve just cooked, not too hard eggs.


Shell the eggs, chop roughly.


FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 4 tablespoons of groundnut or sunflower oil (of course you can use olive oil if you prefer)

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar salt and black pepper


This mustardy vinaigrette , so popular in Burgundy which is famous for its mustard, is made rather like a mayonnaise (in fact it is called a false mayonnaise). Put the tablespoon of mustard in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Slowly, drop by drop at first, add the oil, whisking all the time to incorporate it. It can easily separate, so be cautious. (Despite this it will only take about five minutes to make.) A teaspoon of boiling water can be added if you think it is about to split, or even if it just has.

To finish the dish, dress the leeks with the vinaigrette. Add the eggs. Serve!


(For meat eaters, it's rather nice with ham)

Leek photos by Chris Hanson