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Course: side dish
Total time: under 30 minutes
Skill level: Easy
Cost: Inexpensive
Yield: 4 servings
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The French love leeks and give them the respect they are due. When shopping, I always glance to see what my neighbors are adding to their market baskets. Invariably there is a tall, slender, shiny leek or two, for putting in salads, soups, stews. But leeks can be treated badly, especially when they are cooked to death and their gorgeous alabaster and spring green colors turn to dull army-drab gray-green. Here the elegant poireau is simply steamed, then immediately bathed in a lively sauce of vinegar, mustard, capers, and oil, so it absorbs all those delicious flavors, maintaining both color and integrity. For this dish, choose the smallest, freshest leeks you can find. I use only the tender white portion here, reserving the green portions for soups and stocks.


  • 1 tablespoon sherry-wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons imported French mustard
  • 1 tablespoon capers in vinegar, drained
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 small fresh leeks (about 1 pound), white portion only, trimmed and rinsed
  • ½ cup finely minced fresh chives or flat-leaf parsley leaves


1. Prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and salt and whisk to dissolve the salt. Add the mustard, capers, and oil and whisk to blend. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.

2. Bring 1 quart water to a simmer in the bottom of a steamer. Place the leeks on the steaming rack. Place the rack over the simmering water, cover, and steam until the leeks are soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

3. Drain the leeks and transfer to a platter. Immediately cover with the vinaigrette while the leeks are warm, so they soak up the sauce. Sprinkle with chives or parsley and serve.

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Nutritional Information

Nutritional information is provided by the author.

160 calories per serving
14 g fat
2 g protein
9 g carbohydrates