Steamed Leeks with Citrus Soy Vinaigrette
So you call yourself a foodie? You love food, cooking, discovering new tastes and eating. You should label yourself a foodie; what a privilege to have “an ardent or refined interest in food.” Do you also get excited about food when you travel? Thinking about the cultural gastronomic aspects of the places you visit? One of the best ways to spot new foods is to head over to the local farm markets in new towns. France is an ideal country to explore food traditions via the link between the marché (market) or through eating at small family run restaurants.
Several years ago good friends of mine, Meg and Aaron, came to visit. They are both foodies, love cooking, eating and exploring new culinary dishes. One of their favorite activities while visiting was spending a couple of hours perusing locally produced foods at the town market. One day they promised to bring back lunch and they returned with some interesting finds. One treasure was in a small container.
I remember the container, white color, nothing interesting. I opened it and in a tiny neat package were cold boiled leeks bathed in vinaigrette. The white part of the leek was cut off from the green, the leeks were cooked in boiling water until soft. My friends followed the advice from the market: serve these leeks at room temperature or cold as an accompaniment to meat or fish. The surprise was the simple taste of these leeks and the easy way they were prepared. Something I thought so mundane to eat was actually everything but that! On that warm March day in Pau, we ate the most amazing lunch all bought from the market. These leeks were the biggest surprise of all. Soft, flavorful and simple they were a healthy and light contrast to the meat we had with it.
In France, leeks are considered “poor man’s asparagus.” The word in French for leek: poireau is a derogatory word for simpleton. Now, in some countries, leeks are considered gourmet food. Where we live we can buy leeks year round. They are a versatile, inexpensive and healthy vegetable in the onion family. Leeks help blood pressure to stay low and keep blood vessels clean and functioning well. Leeks contain high amounts of fiber, vitamins C, K, B6 and minerals manganese and iron. Slip them in soups, on pizza, with fish dishes and in Quiche. With the weather getting warmer in Spring, you will find this dish a mouth surprising pleasure.
You will need to cut off the green tops and use just the bottom of the leeks. Keep the green leaves and use them in soups or stock. Here is a link for a recipe I make called soupe de bonne femme where you can use your green leek leaves. In this leek and vinaigrette recipe I chose to steam the leeks instead of boiling them, a healthier way of cooking because it keeps more nutrients intact.
Steamed Leeks With Citrus Lemon Vinaigrette
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||20 minutes|
|Total time||30 minutes|
|Meal type||Appetizer, Side Dish|
|Misc||Serve Cold, Serve Hot|
- 2 lb Leeks
- 1 tablespoon Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- pinch Freshly Chopped Chives or Parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon Soy Sauce
- Freshly Ground Pepper
The citrus soy vinaigrette is an essential part to the dish unless the leeks are served as an accompaniment to meat or fish with a rich sauce. In that case dribble a small amount of olive oil on the leeks. Fresh herbs add color and presentation especially if served as a first course. Each diner should have a serrated or sharp knife to cut the leeks on the plate to avoid the vegetable falling apart.