Where is the veg?


After some occasional eat out and indulging in chocolate and more chocolate, my body starts to scream out for more fresh veggie and a leaner diet. I have no plan for a strict eating regime, but more fresh fruits and veg will be on the way….

And as always, I think the best vegetable dish is the one with the simplest preparation. I admit I have a taste for raw vegetables. Call me rabbit if you want, but raw carrot, cherry tomatoes and parsnip are my regular snack. I also have a habit of tasting veg before cooking them, too.

The above principle is applied to the beautiful baby leeks that I got from the market. Inspired by a recipe from the beautiful cookbook `A year in my kitchen” by Australian-born now UK-based chef Skye Gyngell, the baby leeks are simmered in verjuice and water, and then dressed in light vinaigrette. To make it more substantial, grated hard-boiled eggs is added (hence the name mimosa!). I also sprinkle some coarsely chopped pistachio for some crunchiness, too.

So simple yet flavoursome, I eat this with some grilled bread for a light lunch. But of course, this will also be great as a side dish for grilled meat or fish.

Oh, I do make some changes to the classic vinaigrette out of necessity. After searching high and low in my pantry, I realise that my Dijon mustard has gone! So I have substituted it with some garlic & honey mustard instead. Time for me to re-organise my pantry!

Leek Vinaigrette with Eggs Mimosa and Pistachio

Inspired from this book

Ingredients (for 1-2 as a light meal or side dish)

10 trimmed baby leek, well-washed

150ml verjuice

200ml water or as needed

4 whole black peppercorns

4 thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

1 hard-boiled egg

Some coarsely chopped toasted pistachio

Vinaigrette

1½ tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp cream

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ tbsp red wine vinegar

80ml extra virgin olive oil

Method

Place verjuice and water in a pan together with whole black peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to the boil. Add the leek and simmer gently until the leeks are tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. Put mustard and cream in a bowl, add some salt and pepper and whisk together. Add the wine vinegar, stir to combine. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly. Set aside for 5 mins or so.

Grate the hard-boiled egg.

As the leeks are cooked, drain them on kitchen paper. Lay them on a warm plate and add the vinaigrette. Scatter the egg and pistachio. Add some parsley if desired then serve.

I am submitting this entry to Weekend Herb Blogging. This week, it comes back to the founder Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. Please head over to her blog for the roundup next week, and for all info about WHB.

NOTE added after Kalyn’s comment: Verjuice is a acidic juice made from unripe grapes. It has a light sour flavour, which is milder than most vinegar. In Australia, Maggie Beer is the most popular brand. You can find it in gourmet store. Even my local Coles also stocks it now!

25 Responses to Where is the veg?

  1. Kalyn says:

    Love the photos! It sounds like a very interesting way to cook leeks. But I don’t know what verjuice is at all. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it. I’m trying to imagine what it might be, but I’m drawing a blank. You must enlighten me!

  2. Lucy says:

    Lovely Anh. Perfect for this time of year. Must say that I cannot stand parsnips, especially raw, so I’ll admire your ‘healthiness’ from afar! (Though I love all the others you mentioned).

  3. sher says:

    Yes! I hear you about the chocolate burnout! I love the way the dish looks in the photos. Just the thin when your recovering from sugar overload! Vinaigrette. Yummmm!

  4. Pille says:

    After having lunch at Skye’s fabulous restaurant The Petersham Nurseries just outside London, we bought her book – and a bottle of verjuice :) Haven’t tried this leek recipe yet, but her verjuice-roasted rhubarb is amazing!

  5. Eva says:

    My way of cooking leeks always lacked an interesting twist… Your recipe seems just the thing to change that! Thank you!

  6. Lydia says:

    I never do anything much with leeks except saute them — this recipe is much more interesting and would make a great side dish for a roast chicken dinner, so that’s what ‘m going to try.

  7. joey says:

    This sounds so refreshing! And your photos are great…you have made these leeks look like little beauties :) I have never come across verjuice…is there a substitute?

  8. East Meets West Kitchen says:

    Beautiful dish of baby leeks! Thanks for the lesson on verjuice too. Learn something everyday! :)

  9. lynn says:

    This does look like a delightful way to lighten up after an all pastry (or in my case, all ice cream) diet.

  10. Mandy says:

    I am trying to incorporate more veggie into my diet too! This recipe sounds interesting. But I may have to make some modification, since I don’t think I have seem the verjuice in US….

  11. eatme_delicious says:

    Yum that looks like a very tasty side dish!

  12. Kelly Mahoney says:

    I hear you on that — All I ate yesterday was doughnuts and now I really want some steamed veggies and chicken.

  13. tigerfish says:

    Nice presentation. :)

  14. Cynthia says:

    Anh, you can feed me veggies anytime. Those baby leeks, who would have thought that a photo of veg can have one drooling? :)

  15. Callipygia says:

    What a nice way to eat your veggies. I have been intrigued by cooking leeks as the primary veggie, but theyre so expensive. And verjus, same thing. Love the idea of it with pistachio too.

  16. Nora B. says:

    Beautiful photos, Anh. And it it whetting my appetite too! I understand what you mean about craving for veggies. I made a big salad or a simple veggies stir fry when I get that craving.
    More details on my blog.

  17. Ellie says:

    Anh, that looks absolutely divine! Healthy yet delicious – and those baby leeks are adorable :)

  18. Anh says:

    Kalyn, I have added a note about verjuice. Hope this helps. :)

  19. Lia says:

    iam wondering is perfect meal since iam enjoying leeks ;) only thing too bad am not seeing the pic :(

  20. Cris says:

    We’re in the same hemisphere, so I think the vegetables and fruits are about the same at this time of year right? You know I am crazy about dressings and your vinaigrette seems delicious!

  21. SteamyKitchen says:

    You know, I haven’t had a leek dish in forever…and I love leeks! I’ll pick some up at the market.

  22. Truffle says:

    Oh how delightful! They are absolutely gorgeous. What a lovely recipe.

  23. Anh says:

    Lia, sorry dear… I will upload using my photobucket nexy time.

  24. Katerina says:

    Kalyn is right these pictures are amazing! I can never find baby leeks up here in Canada sadly. I love the use of pistachios.

  25. winedeb says:

    Hi Anh – I am visiting you from Lucy’s blog. You have a very lovely site and your photo’s are just beautiful! Now I am off to check out all of the delicious recipes!

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