Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lovely leeks

Jeff and I both love leeks so Laurent Tourondel's recipe for Leeks Vinaigrette caught my eye the first time I flipped through the BLT cookbook, a gift from my mother-in-law for Christmas. The recipe is simple, but the presentation elegant. It is listed as a first course in the book, but I served it along with our Saturday dinner of grilled steaks and twice baked potatoes stuffed with spinach and cheddar.

Find the recipe in BLT: Bistro Laurent Tourondel, by Laurent Tourondel. This is a new favorite cookbook. If you haven't seen it, check it out.

Here's how I made it (for 2 servings). The original cllas for a blue cheese such as Forme d'Ambert, but Jeff isn't a big fan of blue so I substituted an aged Crotin goat cheese. Delish!

Leeks Vinaigrette
3 large leeks
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
About 3 tsp. walnut oil
about 3 tsp. sherry vinegar
2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
2 ounces aged goat cheese or blue cheese such as Forme d'Ambert or Gorgonzola
Carmelized walnuts (see below)
To prepare the leeks, remove the outer layer and trim off the root ends and darker green portions at the top. Wash thoroughly and thn tie together, 3 in a bunch, with kitchen twine so they hold their shape when cooked.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the leeks. Simmer the leeks until tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain and shock by plunging them into a bowl of ice water. Drain well and squeeze the leeks gently in a paper towel to eliminate excess water. Remove the strings. Cut the leeks crosswise into 3/4 inch lengths.
Arrange the leeks slices with one cut-side down on serving plates. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar. Sprinkle the chives over them.
Place a little of the cheese on each leek. Scatter the walnuts over them. Serve immediately.
Carmelized walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1/2 cup walnuts
Butter or lightly spray a cookie sheet. Set aside.
Combine the water and sugar in a small pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Then let is boil, untouched, until it turns a rich amber color. Remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet. Allow to cool, then coarsely chop them to break them apart.

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