Leeks à la Russe, french vinaigrette

Simple, yet so elegant; Poireaux Vinaigrette à la Russe were part of the classic recipes we had to learn at Hotel School… and a whole new world opened in front of our eyes. I could not get enough of learning the different foods and methods of preparing them. It made us all travel to so many places we had not yet discovered. I first traveled the world through learning how to cook and taste my first wines. Remembering the different “appelations” or names for each vegetables became a game. A carrot soup became a Potage Crecy, a simple potato soup was known as Potage Parmentier, a cauliflower soup became Potage du Barry and so on. Each recipe was attached to a long history of provenance involving Royalty, Catherine de Medicis and specific regions in France. Of course, we discovered food through French cuisine, like all the Hotel schools at the time. We barely touched on other cuisines and only when talking about curries and exotic spices …but this was not in the repertoire at the time. Nevertheless, we learned about the different regions in France, their specialties and corresponding wines. How lucky were we to learn about the various region specialties and to taste them “live” when I started travelling. I could finally understand about the different wine regions and grapes when spending a little time in each of the regions. I finally understood what our teachers meant by words such as fruity, acidity and tanin. The world of cuisine makes you travel and this is what I enjoy them most. Discovering new territories, cultures and habits through food, an endless journey in discoveries. Replicating them at home, perpetuate that feeling of travelling, bringing back wonderful memories.

INGREDIENTS
2 Large leeks – Green parts removed, sliced in halves and cut in 10cm pieces.
1 Hard boiled egg
3 Slices of bacon, cut in fine pieces
4 Tablespoons French Mustard Vinaigrette

INSTRUCTIONS
In a saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, bring 10cm of water to a boil.  Add the leeks , cover and steam until just tender, about 7-8 minutes. 
Drain the leeks , pat dry and refrigerate until chilled, 15 minutes.
I used a Chinese wicker basket and cover the base with parchment paper.

Cook one egg for 10 minutes in boiling water –
Cook the bacon in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, until very crispy.

To assemble, place the leeks on a plate, open face up. Chop the hard boiled egg finely and using a knife as a guide, create a fine line of chopped egg over the leeks.
Crumble the bacon in small pieces and again, create a fine line, next to the hard boiled egg.
Finish the process with another line of chopped hard boiled egg.
Garnish with a few tablespoons of Vinaigrette and serve at room temperature, with a good baguette … and a glass of Chablis….

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