This recipe is a reinterpretation of leeks vinaigrette, the French bistro classic that’s basically a spruced-up bowl of onions. Here, the approach is serving the dish as a fresh salad, in contrast to the classic marinated vegetable feel. Sliced leeks are cooked quickly, offering the squeaky snap of a just-cooked green bean, holding on to the freshness and texture that leeks have to offer without surrendering the “if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right” appeal of everything that’s cool and French and charmingly askew.
- Bring 2 quarts of generously salted water to a simmer in a medium saucepan and delicately lower in the eggs. Simmer the eggs for 7 minutes, remove, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Remove the outermost few layers of the leeks, and trim off the darkest green parts. Slice on a bias into ¼-inch-thick, slightly oblong rounds, and briefly submerge them in a bowl of water to remove any dirt between the layers.
- Blanch the sliced leeks in the simmering water for 2–3 minutes. Once just tender but still vibrant and retaining some shape, remove the leeks with a slotted spoon or strainer and lay them out on a towel to drain excess water. (This step is crucial to achieving the correct texture of the vinaigrette.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and olive oil. Add the leeks and parsley, and season with salt and black pepper, tossing to coat.
- Carefully peel the eggs, doing your best not to break them. (If you do, just tell your guests they’re “torn eggs.”)
- Spread the dressed leeks over a large plate in one layer. Cut the eggs in half and arrange them over the leeks, then sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top.
Matt Trueherz is a writer and recipe developer based in Portland, OR. He draws from a decade of cooking in award-winning restaurants to interpret their philosophies for the home cook.