Poireaux vinaigrette is a simple poached vegetable dish with a vinaigrette dressing. Poireaux means leek in French and this leeks vinaigrette recipe is so easy to make. In France it is often served as a starter, but we like to serve it as an easy side dish.
About This Recipe
- Poireaux vinaigrette is budget friendly especially when you use leeks that are in season.
- It’s low calorie, healthy and gluten free and it’s also vegan and vegetarian friendly.
- This is an extremely easy vegetable recipe that can be made several hours ahead of time. It can be served at room temperature making it great for entertaining.
- This dish can be eaten hot but, is at its best when left to cool for the best flavour.
- You are not just stuck with the vinaigrette dressing; you can use other dressings and toppings with this poached leek – see recipe variations further down the page.
Leeks – you will need about 150 grams (5 oz) of leek per serve. Depending on the size of the leeks you might get 1 – 2 serves from it.
The leeks pictured in the image above are quite large and I managed to get two 18 cm (7 inch) pieces each being about 130 – 140 grams (4.5 oz).
If you have leeks that are smaller you may only be able to get one serve from each.
Poaching Liquid – You can use either water, chicken or vegetable stock to poach the leeks in. We like using stock because it gives a nice flavour to the leeks.
You can use homemade or store bought stock and even stock made from cubes or powder.
Tip: When you have finished cooking the leeks don’t throw away the cooking liquid, use it to make my easy potato soup. You will need to make up the difference in stock with a little extra water or stock.
Vinaigrette – you will need a little red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil and salt. You don’t need much as a little goes a long way.
Garnish – The garnish is optional but, it does help to “brighten” up an otherwise dull looking dish, especially if you are going to serve it at a dinner party.
For the garnish you will need small amounts of finely chopped shallots (or red onion) and chives or parsley.
If you’ve never cooked with leek before, read this section on how to clean leeks. You might also like to read this guide to leeks.
How To Clean Leeks
Step 1 & 2 If you are using leeks that have been in storage for a while and have outer leaves that are little brown and dry looking (like the ones shown in the above image), peel these away.
Trim away most of the green top as this is rarely used in cooking. I like to leave about 5 -10 cm of green leaves at the top but, if you want it can be trimmed down to the white part.
If you are using fresh in season leeks that look good, all you need to do is remove the green top.
Step 3 – Leeks can be very dirty with dirt being caught in between the white and green parts at the top.
You will need to cut the leeks in half lengthwise at least 5 – 10 cm into the white part at the top, leaving the bottom part uncut.
I like to make one long lengthwise cut, then turn the leek 90° and make another cut. The leek will be cut into quarters but still be held together at the bottom.
Cut a small section from the bottom end to remove the root section.
Step 4 – When you fan the leek apart you will see bits of dirt; this need to be rinsed off under cold running water. After cleaning, drain off the excess water and then the leeks are ready to be used.
How to Make Poireaux Vinaigrette
Step 5 – For poaching, the leeks will need to be tied together at both ends with twine. This is so that they won’t fall apart during cooking.
I like to cut the leeks into 18 cm (7 inch) sections. For a small leek you should be able to get one 18 cm (7 inch) piece. For a large leek as shown in the picture I was able to get two 18 cm (7 inch) pieces.
If you prefer, the leeks can be cut into smaller 9 cm (3.5 inch) lengths.
Step 6 – After tying the leeks cut into equal lengths.
Step 7 – Place the leeks into a large saucepan and add water or stock to the pot, season with a little salt and or freshly ground pepper.
Bring the stock to the boil, turn the heat down to low, put the lid on and simmer for about 40 – 50 minutes.
Step 8 – Use tongs to remove the leeks from the stock, transfer to a wire rack placed on top of a tray to drain and cool. Allow the leeks to cool while still tied with twine.
Cut and remove the twine after you have transferred the leeks to a serving platter and before adding the vinaigrette dressing and sprinkling on the garnish.
How To Serve Leeks Vinaigrette
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
Arrange the cooled leeks on a serving platter and drizzle over some of the dressing. Garnish with a sprinkling of finely chopped red onion and chives then serve.
What also goes very well with the above is a sprinkling of Asian dried onions (not traditional but a very nice addition!). You might also like to try finely chop or grate over a little hard boiled egg.
Tip: Not everyone likes a generous serving of vinaigrette so, dress the leeks with about half of the dressing. The remaining can be served at the dinner table for whoever wants more.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Allow about 150 grams (5 oz) of leek per serve.
- Thoroughly wash the leeks under running water to remove any dirt trapped between the layers.
- Use vegetable stock if serving as vegan or vegetarian.
- Prepare the dressing up to 4 days in advance, store in an airtight container in the fridge until needed. Shake well before serving.
- If the vinaigrette is too thick for your taste, thin it down with a little of the stock before drizzling over the leeks.
- Poached leeks can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for about 3 days.
Don’t like vinaigrette you could use one of these as a dressing:
Beuree Noisette with Breadcrumbs
Beuree Noisette is French brown butter sauce. It is easy to make and with the addition of breadcrumbs, you get a nice crunchy texture which compliments the silky smooth texture of the leeks.
To make – Melt 85 grams (3 oz) of butter in a pan and cook until it turns a golden brown colour. Add 4 – 5 teaspoons toasted breadcrumbs, ½ – 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, season with salt to taste and pour over the leeks.
Gribiche sauce is a French cold egg sauce, it’s made by emulsifying hard boiled egg yolks, mustard and a neutral flavoured oil. After the sauce is made finely chopped pickled cucumbers, capers and fresh herbs are mixed in.
Hollandaise sauce: is a simple sauce made by making an emulsion of egg yolks, melted butter and lemon juice (or white wine). It is quite often usually served on eggs Benedict, but also goes very well with many vegetables and fish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What goes well with leeks?
Leeks go well with simple pan fried, roasted or grilled meats. They are also delicious when cooked in dishes made with cream and garlic.
Can I freeze leeks without blanching?
Yes, you can but, it’s not the best option. The best method it to blanch before freezing, this will lock in flavour, nutrients and colour.
More Easy Vegetable Recipes To Try
How simple and easy it that! Poireaux vinaigrette is going to be one of the easiest recipes you will ever make because, there is very little that can go wrong with this.
I do hope that you try this easy French leek recipe! If you do please come back and leave a comment below and tell me how it went.
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Poireaux Vinaigrette (Leek Vinaigrette)
- 2-4 leeks about 700 grams
- 1 1/2 litre (6 cups) chicken stock or veggie stock or water
- Salt/pepper seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh chopped chives
- Scallion or red onion
- Cut off and discard the root end and most of the dark green tips of the leeks, keeping most of the light green part near the white.
- Pull away and discard any old and discoloured leaves.
- Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, leaving about 5 cm at the root end uncut.
- Thoroughly wash the leeks under cold running water, fanning out the layers to remove any trapped dirt. Drain well.
- Cut the leeks into 18 cm (7 inch) pieces. Tie each leek with twine, securing at both ends.
- Place the prepared leek into a large pot, add the stock or water and bring to the boil. Put the lid on the pot, turn down the heat and simmer for 40 – 50 minutes.
- Use tongs to remove the leeks from the stock, transfer to a wire rack placed on top of a tray and allow to drain and cool with the twine still in place.
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well and put aside.
- Arrange the cooled leeks on a serving platter, remove the twine then drizzle over some of the dressing. Garnish with a sprinkling of finely chopped red onion and chives then serve.