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Wild Leek with French Vinaigrette or homemade Mayonnaise or Aioli

Spring soups
3 April 2017
A versatile basic recipe: Dandelion Salad
24 April 2017

Wild Leek with French Vinaigrette or homemade Mayonnaise or Aioli

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

  1. Whisk the vinegar in a bowl with the salt and pepper, add any of the options at this point.
  2. When the salt is dissolved, add the oil slowly, continuously whisking.

Remember, salt does not dissolve in oil.

If you want to add a few calories make your own homemade mayonnaise or aioli.

Basic Mayonnaise

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)

  1. Place the egg yolks in a bowl, being sure that no whites have been transferred, and gingerly beat the yolks until they become creamy. Depending on your technique this can take several minutes.
  2. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the mixture and continue. Then sprinkle the vinegar or lemon juice over the emulsion, all the while beating the mixture. If you wish to add mustard do so at this point.
  3. Slowly, drop by drop, add the oil to the mixture never ceasing to beat. Once a thick mixture has been achieved and 1/2 of the oil has been beaten in, a short rest bit can be taken. Then recommence with the same procedure.
  4. Should the mixture need to be thinned down, a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar may be beaten in at this point.


            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)

  1. Pound the garlic, and if so desired the mustard seeds, into a paste in the mortar with the pestle.
  2. Add egg yolk to paste and continue to pound the mixture. When well mixed and smooth transfer to a bowl if the mortar is not big enough to hold the cup of oil.
  3. Add the oil by drops while stirring the mixture vigorously.
  4. Salt to taste

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.