Spring time is a perfect moment to indulge in leeks with Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette, known in French as “Poireaux vinaigrette”. This cold starter of tender poached leeks served with a tangy vinaigrette dressing is a timeless French classic. And for good reason—it is a delicious, affordable, and uncomplicated starter to make at home. It also gives these seasonal vegetables often thought of as a supporting player, a well-deserved moment to shine.
A perfect Spring-time recipe
Leek season runs from September to May, but Spring leeks are smaller and more tender, which makes them perfect for a “Poireaux Vinaigrette” recipe. Poaching the leeks is an easy cooking method that helps bring out their sweetness, while giving them a smooth, almost buttery texture.
After being drizzled with vinaigrette, the leeks only get better as they sit and absorb the zippy dressing. You can prepare this dish a few hours in advance and let it rest at room temperature prior to serving—perfect for spring entertaining!
- Choose leeks with deep green leaves and pristine white roots. If possible, opt for leeks that are smaller in size, and leave bigger ones for soups or stews. Rinse them thoroughly, especially in between the leaves, and do not refrigerate them, or they’ll lose their delicate texture.
- For poaching the leeks, make sure you use twine to tie them in small bundles before cooking, so they don’t separate in the water.
- Feel free to get creative with the vinaigrette! You can add different herbs (ie. dill, chive, basil), chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts), or salty fixings like capers, olives or anchovies.
I hope you enjoy these Leeks with Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette (Poireaux Vinaigrette) as much as I do! Any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
You may also like:
- Creamy Leek & Potato Soup
- Sweet Pea Ham Quiche
- Herby Spring Vegetable Jardiniere
- Swiss Chard Pancakes
4 small leeks or 3 medium sized leeks
½ tsp salt
For the Vinaigrette:
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp (90ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
6 sprigs curly parsley, stemmed and roughly chopped
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Step 1 - Cut off and discard the root ends and dark green tips of the leeks. Keep most of the light green parts, so you get a nice white-to-green gradient for the final dish. Discard any outer leaves that are too tough and/or blemished.
Cut each leek into thirds, so you have 9 or 12 equal-sized pieces total, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Use butcher’s twine to tie all the pieces into three small bundles.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and place the bundles of leeks in the water so they are completely submerged. Bring back to a boil, cover with a lid, turn the heat down to medium-high, and boil for 20 minutes, until the leeks are fork-tender.
Step 2 - Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the vinegar and salt in a bowl, and whisk with a fork for about 1 minute until the salt has dissolved. Add the shallot, mustard, parsley, and pepper. Then, slowly drizzle in the oil in a steady stream while constantly whisking. Continue whisking until the dressing thickens to your desired texture.
Remove the leek bundles from the water with a slotted spoon and let them cool and drain on a kitchen towel. If needed, squeeze out some of the excess water.
Place the leeks on a serving platter and cut off the twine. Top generously with the vinaigrette.
Serve warm or cool.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appetit!