Leeks served with a Kumquat Clementine Vinaigrette
Leeks vinaigrette is a simple and healthy recipe to welcome Spring. The leeks are simply steam-cooked and then drizzled with the vinaigrette. I brightened the vinaigrette with some sweet clementines and kumquats from my garden. The zest of the citrus brings a lot of flavor.
Leeks are from the onion family but their taste is much more subtle and mild. In fact, they have a natural, gentle sweetness that can be paired very successfully with more sour, acidic flavors. If you've never had leeks, it's time to give them a try!
Yields: 46 leeks
1/2 tsp brown sugar
3 Tbs Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
2 tsp superfine sugar
1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs coarse-grained Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp white peppercorns, freshly ground
1 Tbs parsley, coarsely chopped
How to prepare the leeks:
Trim the hairy root but make sure not to cut so high that all the leaves separate. Cut about 4 inches off of the long dark green top part of the leek as well. It's very fibrous and not as tender. You can save it for a vegetable stock. Remove a layer or two if the leaves are wilted.
Fill a big bucket of water. Place all the leeks in. Try to open up the leaves and remove all the sand and dirt. Make sure the center portion is still intact so the vegetable still holds together. Wash the leeks again under cold running tap water, there might still be more sand.
Bring a pot filled with water to a boil. Add the steamer insert and place all the leeks in the steamer and steam for about 15 minutes (depending on how wide the leeks are).
How to pickle the shallot:
Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Mince the shallot finely. Place the minced shallot in a bowl, sprinkle some brown sugar and drizzle with the Meyer lemon juice. Set aside.
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in the white balsamic vinegar. Add the mustard. Set aside.
Peel the kumquat. Thinly slice the kumquat zest. Save a few slices for decoration. Finely chop the rest of the zest.
Juice the clementines. Be sure to remove the pulp using a strainer. Place the clementine juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about less than 5 minutes. Add the chopped kumquat zest. The liquid should reduce to about a tablespoon of clementine juice. Remove from the heat. Add the fleur de sel and whisk in the olive oil immediately while the juice is still hot. Add the mustard / balsamic vinegar mixture. Add the pickled shallot without its lemony liquid. Finish with white pepper.
Place the leeks. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with parsley.
You're all set. Dig in!
If you don't have clementines, you can substitute with one orange or any other sweet citrus.
You don't have to use white balsamic vinegar but for the aesthetic of the dish, a white vinegar is advised.You can add more vinegar if your clementine reduction is very sweet.
I absolutely love kumquats. I've made some kumquat marmelade already, an agave blended homemade yogurt with kumquat preserves, some caramelized kumquats for a green salad and some baby zucchini-kumquat relish that I served with some fish. If you guys have any suggestions on recipes that use kumquats, I'm all ears. Do not hesitate to leave me a message.
Published By: on April 3, 2009.