Leeks Vinaigrette with Egg

This is an all-time favourite, perfect for so many occasions; as a starter, as part of a buffet or with cold cuts and jacket potatoes. Ideally, you want slim leeks, about the thickness of your thumb but thicker trimmed leeks are what most supermarkets sell. The combination of silky, tender leeks, creamy, Dijon-mustardy vinaigrette with finely grated hard-boiled eggs and a final chive garnish, is leeks vinaigrette perfection.

Serves 4

Prep: 30 min

Cook: 15 min

2 eggs

16 slim leeks or 8 trimmed leeks

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

4 tbsp cold water

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

250ml peanut oil or other flavourless oil

1 tbsp snipped chives

Place the eggs in a small pan of cold water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain, crack all over, hold under cold water and remove the shell. Trim the leeks leaving about 2.5cm green. Very long thick leeks should be cut in half. Soak in cold water to remove dirt between the layers. Cook the leeks in fast-boiling, generously salted water for about 5 minutes until tender. Alternatively steam them. Drain and leave to cool. In a liquidiser, blend mustard, water, vinegar, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. With the motor running, pour in sufficient oil in a thin stream to make creamy homogenised vinaigrette. If you think it is too thick, thin with a little more water. The ideal consistency should be like thin salad cream. Halve the slim leeks lengthways and quarter trimmed leeks. Lay cut side uppermost on a platter or suitable dish. Drizzle with the (thick, creamy) dressing and grate over the hard boiled eggs on the fine hole of a box grater. Sprinkle with the chives and serve with good bread.