I have never thought of leeks as an accessory ingredient because of this recipe. These leeks, topped with a warm spicy vinaigrette, could be a first course, a side dish, or a salad. But however you eat these leeks, you will always have respect for this fabulous Allium, if you didn’t already. They’re not just meant to be a filler for potato soup.
This recipe is in the Creole and Acadian recipe booklet from the Foods of the World series of Time Life. I actually remember the first time I made these leeks, as part of a full Creole meal.
Creole/Cajun/Acadian is an American regional favorite of mine, because of the spiciness, mostly.
The recipe is quite simple. It’s just a matter of first cleaning the leeks. Trim them and slice in half lengthwise. Then let running water rinse them off. Alternatively, slice the leeks crosswise and place them in a large bowl of water. The silt will fall to the bottom. Just scoop out the slices and dry on a kitchen towel.
Place the cleaned leeks in a shallow pan, and cover with water. Bring to a soft boil, put a lid on the pan, and let the leeks cook for not more than 10 minutes. Using two spoons, carefully place the cooked leeks onto paper towels and let drain and cool off slightly. Alternatively, they could be steamed if you have a large enough steamer basket.
Meanwhile, prepare the spicy vinaigrette, recipe follows:
Creole Vinaigrette Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Creole mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
6-8 tablespoons olive oil
The way the recipe has you make it is like making a fairly thin aioli. I opted to just place all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk them together.
And by the way, I didn’t have tarragon vinegar, so I used a combination of apple cider vinegar and fresh tarragon.
The recipe suggests that you serve the leeks cold. I notated on the recipe page that they’re good cold or hot, but I think the flavors really pop when at least the vinaigrette is warm. Alternatively, if your leeks are still warm, the room temperature vinaigrette will warm up on the leeks. The heat really enhances the spiciness.
Place the drained leeks on a serving plate. Then gently pour on the vinaigrette.
As you can tell, I also sprinkled the leeks with tarragon leaves.
The sweetness of the leeks really pairs beautifully with the spicy, warm vinaigrette.
You just have to try them!