Here’s one of the dishes we made in class last week: Braised Leeks in Vinaigrette with a Hard Boiled Egg. It’s an old French classic that I actually really like. It’s light and simple and flavorful. (No mayo or Hollandaise involved… thank God!) It’d be nice as part of a lunch, perhaps with a soup or a tartine, or as a side dish or appetizer for dinner.
Here’s what you do:
Cut off the very bottom of the leeks (but just enough that the whole thing stays in tact) and most of the top green part. Then make a vertical slit with your knife up the green part and put them in a bowl of water and agitate to rinse any dirt out. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the leeks in and let the boil for 5 minutes or so, or until they’re soft. Pull them out and shock them in an ice bath. You can use the same pot to boil your egg. I gently lower the egg into the water at a rolling boil and set a 10 minute timer, but if you use a different method, by all means, do it. If you want a soft boiled egg (which would also be lovely) boil them for 5-5 1/2 minutes. Shock the egg in the ice bath as well.
While they’re cooling, make a vinaigrette. Three parts oil to one part vinegar is the general ratio but I tend to go for 2 1/2 oil:1 vinegar. I like a little more kick. You can make it with whatever kind of vinegar you prefer but I suggest something light like Champagne vinegar. I never use anything but EVOO for a vinaigrette. Neutratl oils just don’t do it for me… too bland. Maybe add a dab of Dijon and some minced shallots & fresh herbs for some depth and flavor complexity.
Now pull your leeks from the ice bath and squeeze out as much water as possible. Let them drain on paper towels for a bit until they’re pretty darn dry. Then toss them in the vinaigrette, transfer them to a plate, drizzle a little more vinaigrette, and garnish with your egg and herbs.
And…Voila! Skinny French food!