For those who have bought our hampers this week (delivered 10th April), we have a special recipe that our good friend Ollie Dabbous (Chef Patron of michelin starred ‘Hide’ restaurant (www.hide.co.uk) one of our favourite and best restaurants in London)has created exclusively for us. Do give it a try with the lovely leeks in your hamper and post your results on our insta feed.
Créances leeks are well known to chefs, but given their humble status they have never received their deserved share of the limelight with the wider public. The soil variety and temperate climate of Creances (immediately due east of Jersey) is perfect for growing leeks, which enjoy a PGI status in their native France.
Always trim them where the pale green becomes darker and they start to separate, then wash well in a large sink of water, running the tap over them to wash between the layers. These thin leeks only require a couple of outer layers to be removed.
I personally like leeks steamed whole, though baking them in a pouch of tin foil with some water in a hot oven produces a similar result if you don’t have a steamer. When halved, the layers are perfect to soak up a creamy acidic dressing. They are also delicious toasted in a hot pan or roast on the barbecue if the weather is kind.
Lockdown leek vinaigrette, fried breadcrumbs & soft poached eggs
Thin Créances leeks, trimmed & washed
- Steam over rapidly boiling water for approximately 8 mins or until tender but not overly soft. A paring knife should pierce without resistance but also without any squeaking, which infers they need a couple more mins.
- Remove from the steamer and leave to cool until just warm, then halve lengthways and remove the outer layers.
125g Mayonnaise, 15g Parmesan, grated, 3 tbsp Water, 1 tbsp White wine vinegar, 1 handful Parsley / chervil / basil, ½ Garlic clove, peeled and minced, ½ Lemon, grated zest and juice
- Blend everything together
100g Stale bread trimmings, blended to crumbs (the ends of the loaf), 4 tbsp Olive oil, Pinch Salt, Pinch Dried thyme
- Fry the crumbs in the oil in a frying pan until light golden, then add the salt and thyme and transfer to a tray lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
Soft boiled eggs
- Bring to the boil a large pan of water and have the eggs at room temperature. The pan must be sufficiently big that it remains boiling once the eggs are added. Add the 4 free range eggs, then set the timer to 5 mins, and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Once cooked, remove from the water and plunge into the ice bath to rapidly cool. Peel carefully, then slice in half and season with salt and pepper.
- Scatter over the base of a platter the fried breadcrumbs. Place the leek halves organically on top and spoon the vinaigrette generously over each leek half.
- Intersperse with the egg halves. Feel free to scatter over some more herb tips, leaves or cheese shavings to finish.