Every year is different in the garden. The only constant is what grows well one year will let you down the next, and something that didn’t deliver may well grow abundantly next season. I have no space to start off seeds under glass and no inclination to mollycoddle seedlings so everything goes straight into the ground. It’s thrive or die on Plot 45.
So, what to plant this year? That’s a pleasure to ponder. In the meantime, here’s my take on a classic recipe for leeks. Smaller leeks are best for this dish. The herb I use is chervil as I like the extra dimension of mild aniseed it brings to the sauce but it's more correct to use chopped chives or parsley, I think.
Tip: If you dislike raw shallot, dice it and put it in boiling water for 30 seconds to take away the astringency before starting this recipe. —Evie
4 as a starter or light lunch
small leeks, topped and tailed but retain some green
small shallot, chopped into very small dice
wine vinegar or lemon juice
Salt & pepper
tablespoons of extra virgin olive oi
A few cornichons (gherkins), chopped into small dice
A few springs of chervil (or parsley)
In This Recipe
Clean the leeks scrupulously and drop them into boiling salted water for about 4 minutes, depending on size.
When cooked, plunge the leeks into iced water to stop the cooking and retain their colour then dry throughly on kitchen paper.
Put the diced shallot into a bowl and add the vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave to marinate for 5 minutes.
Whisk in the olive oil to form an emulsion.
Add the diced cornichon and crumble in the egg yolks. Mix well.
Dice the cooked egg whites and fold in with the chervil.
Serve the leeks with the sauce and decorate with a litte chervil.