Leeks with mustard-bacon vinaigrette

I have joined a cookbook club. There are only 16,000 members so we have a lot of time for one-on-one communication. That’s a lie. Not the 16,000. That’s true. The cookbook club was started by Food 52, a fabulous food website. The idea is that Food 52 readers pick a cookbook a month to cook from, pick recipes and make them, and report the results on the closed Facebook page (although how closed can a FB page be with 16,000 people?).

I joined this because I am tired. I have made all my recipes until I could literally construct them in the dark, fast asleep at 3 in the morning. I need some outside inspiration. And I have found it.

The first book I cooked from was David Libovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. It is not a book I would have bought (I rented it from the library) but that’s the point. Cook something unfamiliar. Of the five recipes I made from the book this is far and away my favorite and one I’ll make over and over (hopefully not asleep at 3 in the morning). Leeks are like super mild onions and they take very well to this tangy vinaigrette. And as everyone knows, bacon is in my wheelhouse. King Daddy scarfed this up. And that’s saying something because it’s almost entirely vegetables.

If you want to join the club, here’s the link. I will get my inspiration back. Just the other day I couldn’t help myself and made Poppyseed Chicken just because I could. But I’m branching out, dammit. Hopefully my food has been an inspiration to you from time to time. Just for now, I need to find new inspiration for myself.

Leeks with mustard-bacon vinaigrette (from My Paris Kitchen)

  • 2 cups thick-cut smoked bacon cut into lardons
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons neutral-tasting vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 large or 10 small leeks, cleaned
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs
  1. To make the vinaigrette, cook the bacon over medium heat in a skillet until nearly crisp. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain. When cool, chop the bacon into pieces about the size of tiny peas.
  2. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and salt. Whisk in the oils, 1 tablespoon at a time (the sauce may emulsify, which is fine), then stir in 1 tablespoon of the parsley and two-thirds of the bacon. Set aside.
  3. To prepare the leeks, fill a large pot fitted with a steamer with a couple of inches of water. Bring it to a boil over high heat and add the leeks. Cook the leeks until tender; when you poke them with a sharp paring knife, it should meet no resistance at the root ends. (Smaller leeks will take about 15 minutes, and larger ones will take about 30 minutes.)
  4. Remove the leeks and let drain and cool on a plate lined with paper towels. Cut the leeks in half crosswise, and arrange on a serving platter, alternating them head to tail.
  5. Peel and dice the hard-cooked eggs and scatter them over the leeks. Pour the vinaigrette over the leeks and toss them and the pieces of egg in the dressing so they’re thoroughly coated, then scatter over the remaining bacon pieces and parsley.

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