Warm leek salad with oil-cured olives and eggs
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
One evening our friend French-born plein air painter Philippe Gandiol, served us this dish, one of his mother's recipes. It is well-suited for a first course in early spring, when leeks are in the market, though asparagus can be used, as well. The wine vinegar and mustard dressing is so intensely flavored that no salt or pepper is needed.
2 bunches leeks (about 6 large leeks or 12 baby leeks)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
Trim the ends of the leek greens, leaving 4 to 5 inches of green intact, and trim off the roots. If using large leeks, cut each leek in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly. If using baby leeks, leave whole and rinse thoroughly.
Pour water to a depth of 2 inches into a steamer pan, put the steamer rack in place, lay the trimmed leeks on the rack, and cover the steamer. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil, and steam until the leeks are tender to a fork, about 5 minutes for large leeks and 2 minutes for baby leeks.
(If you don't have a steamer, pour about 1 cup water into the bottom of a sauté pan, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Add the leeks, cover, turn down the heat to a simmer, and cook until the leeks are tender to a fork, about 5 minutes for large leeks and 2 minutes for baby leeks.)
While the leeks are cooking, make the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, mustard, and vinegar.
When the leeks are ready, remove them from the steamer (or sauté pan) and hold under cold running water for a few seconds to halt the cooking and to secure the bright-green color. Drain the leeks well and transfer them to an oval platter, arranging them so they are all facing the same direction. With a sharp knife, cut down crosswise through the leeks every 1 to 1 1/2 inches.
Pour the dressing over the leeks while they are still warm. Sprinkle the chopped egg on top of the leeks in stripes. Arrange stripes of chopped olive on either side of the egg stripes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving based on 6: 297 cal.; 3 g pro.; 21 g carb.; 22 g fat (3 sat., 17 monounsat., 2 polyunsat.); 31 mg chol.; 382 mg sod.; 2 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 67 percent calories from fat.