Wikipedia devotes two lines to wild leek pointing to a difference between North American and European varieties. The inherent oversight of this incredibly delicious and herald of spring is linked to its rarity.
Wild leek tastes like a slightly sweetened version of young spring onions and spring garlic, looking in fact like miniature leek. If you cannot access wild leek choose the smallest possible cultivated leek stalks. Bigger is not better is a good rule in the vegetable kingdom.
Wild leek needs to be washed thoroughly and trimmed well. Then you can use them in the previously cited recipe in
the spring soup blog. As a soup it is so delicious. Not too long ago in a nearby restaurant I had the soup be the base for a mussel soup. Excellent flavor combination. Clearly the diversity of the basic recipe is vast.
A local starter is one of our favorites, leek salad with any number of dressings. The leek is washed, trimmed and then sliced length wise. Boil or steam your leek until soft and drain. Serve while still tepid. While warm douse with your favorite vinaigrette , then top with crumbled boiled eggs and if you want bacon bits. Notice again, these recipes go from Vegan to standard consumption.
Basic Recipe for French Vinaigrette
Makes 1/4 cup
The basic vinaigrette consisting of a good quality oil and wine vinegar in a 3:1 ratio is standard fare. It can, however, vary with home-made vinegar. Depending on the individual “mère de vinaigre” a vinegar may be more acetic, hence stronger tasting, and a 1:2 ratio may be advisable. Mustard or herbal vinaigrettes are used only on special salads; they are called ‘sauces’ rather vinaigrette because of their added flavorings.
Here is a recipe for your basic French vinaigrette.
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs red wine vinegar
3 tbs salad oil, in some instances walnut oil is called for
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
or 1 tbs minced garlic
or 1 tbs fresh herbs, such as tarragon, parsley, chives
Remember, salt does not dissolve in oil.
If you want to add a few calories make your own homemade mayonnaise or aioli.
Makes 2 1/2 cups
A good mayonnaise is a “cold sauce” and not just a salad dressing, it is served as an accompaniment for eggs, salads, cold fish, and meats or vegetables. Several points must be kept in mind: The proportions of egg to oil are the most important, generally 1 cup of oil per egg. The main ingredients as well as the utensils must all be at room temperature. The oil must be added drop by drop until a thick mixture has been reached, when it can be added a little more aggressively. There are no short cuts.
2 medium egg yolks
2 cups salad oil
1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp – 1 tsp mustard (optional)
Aioli is a garlic mayonnaise used in this region to complement a variety of dishes – fish, snails, cold meats and fresh vegetables. It differs somewhat from the aillade, mentioned in Rabelais’ Pantagruel of 1592 and used in other parts of southern and south-western France. Aioli is made with crushed garlic paste prepared with a mortar and pestle to which mayonnaise is added.
4 large cloves of garlic – peeled
I egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 cup of oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
One of my yearnings in the spring is for a wild leek sandwich, if you cannot get leek use spring onions. Wash, trim and then slice the white part of the leek as finely as possible, include very little of the dark green part. Take a piece of baguette, cut lengthwise, spread it open, put a few dollops of sour cream or crème fraiche on the piece, pepper to taste – I use my own five pepper mixture with just a hint of cinnamon – then sprinkle on the leek. Quantity depends on taste. Add glass of wine and lunch is ready.