This dish turns into a salad type appetizer, but it's incredibly Delicious. Recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli.
- For the Vinaigrette:
- 4 large eggs
- 8-10 leeks (4-4 1/2 pounds)
- kosher salt
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 10-15 yellow celery heart leaves and 2-3 very yellow inner stalks, thinly sliced
- white pepper
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp capers, roughly chopped, plus 1 Tbsp of their brine
- kosher salt and white pepper
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small bunch fresh tarragon, leaves finely chopped (about 2 Tbsp)
1. Make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon, juice and vinegar. Add the capers, caper brine, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and then stir in the tarragon. Taste for seasoning.
2. hard-boil the eggs: Put the eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer and cover them with cold water by 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil, remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 8 minutes. Drain the water from the eggs and cover them with cold water to stop them from cooking. Swirl the pan around a few times so the eggs knock against the sides of the pan, lightly cracking the shells. it will make them easier to peel. Before serving, peel and finely chop the eggs.
3. Prepare the leeks: Trim the root end and slice off the dark green from each leek. Peel off one or two of the tough outer layers. Split the leeks in half lengthwise but not all the way to the end; the leeks should remain in one piece. Wash the insides of each leek thoroughly under running cold water, separating the layers. Leeks are very dirty and the slightest bit of dirt in the leek results in a mouthful of grit when eating this dish. After each leek is washed, do your best to close them up as if they hadn't been cut.
4. Cook the leeks: Bring a large skillet of water to a boil.. Season it amply with salt and taste: It should taste like seawater. Plunge the leeks into the boiling water and simmer until a knife can easily be inserted and removed from a leek, 6-8 minutes. The leeks should be tender but still retain their shape and not feel mushy. Use tongs to remove the leeks from the water and transfer them to a cutting board. Dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel. This drains any excess liquid. This is the most important step because water in the leeks will dull the flavor of the dressing and leeks. Refrigerate until cold, or overnight.
5. Make the bread crumbs: Stack the slices of bread on top of one another and use a serrated knife to cut them into small random pieces, each about the size of a pea. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and toast, stirring, until browned, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt.
6. Serve the Leeks: Put 2-3 leek halves on a plate and spread their layers gently apart. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the leeks, taking care that the dressing oozes into the crevices. Sprinkle with some of the celery stalks and leaves, some of the egg and some of the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.