Would Caligula have chosen a plate of leeks whilst watching the Circus Maximus…..

The modest beauty of this bundle of tiny leeks puts to rest the concept that big is beautiful. I needed fresh eggs which entailed some slipping and sliding across icy lanes to reach the farm of Mme Roustand, just over the hill behind the house, who sells the best eggs as well as a raft of delicious vegetables, pulses and locally ground flours. The crumpled 5€ note in my pocket turned out to be enough for 12 fresh eggs and a bag of these tiny leeks. My sole intention had been to buy a dozen eggs which would have been 4€ but, whilst bending to stroke their golden retriever ( how do some dogs just smell so much of dog?) I noticed the wooden box on the floor that contained these beautiful leeks so I had to splash out the full 5€ to have them. Sometimes I feel like I’m behaving like a Goldman Sachs partner – if I want it, I just buy it. The magic of leeks vinaigrette is that, if the leeks are small enough, the dish will be ready for eating very quickly. Trim the leeks and remove as many layers as you dare. Drop the trimmed ones into iced water, which keeps them firm and removes any dirt, whilst you trim the others. A shallow pan of salted water should be boiling on the hob, into which the leeks are dropped and cooked until a knife pierces the soft white tip. Remove the leeks with a draining spoon and place, white tip up, in a colander to drain. Gently pour a jug of ice cold water over the upturned leeks. Once they are cool, and thoroughly drained, put them on a plate and drizzle them with a good vinaigrette. I ate mine in front of a blazing log fire whilst watching England scrape a win against Italy in Rome and was amazed at the depth of flavour in these tiny vegetables in comparison with the lack of depth in the spectacle that 72,000 people had decided to watch whilst shivering in the snowy depths of Italian winter. Caligula might have chosen to do the same as me, by which I mean staying in the warmth and watching people hurt each other, but I think his choice of dish would have been at odds with my humble leeks.  My guess is that he would definitely have gone for big. This recipe is from my book “Easily Fed” which is available from Blurb.com as an ebook for iPad or iPhone at the unmissable price of 5.49€.

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Cooking, Digital photography, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, French countryside, leeks, Leeks vinaigrette, lifestyle, photography course, Photography holiday, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Would Caligula have chosen a plate of leeks whilst watching the Circus Maximus…..

  1. Mad Dog says:

    ROFL.
    You reminded me of buying an Opinel for my grandfather, the first time I went to France as a fourteen year old and then buying a second one in Perpignan in 1993, on my birthday. I got the train from Barcelona, with my then girlfriend Nicole. We bought some wine and food to eat in our hotel, but I’d forgotten the Swiss Army Knife – no corkscrew!
    The leaks reminded me of calçots – a Catalan delicacy of extra large spring onions, cooked on a BBQ, then peeled and dipped in Romesco sauce.

  2. I had my first taste of Leeks Vinegrette only about 4 years ago…thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I came home to search for a recipe – do you know how complicated most of them are? Yours is simple, and stunning. It will be the go-to from now on…

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh, those leeks on that green plate. So beautiful!

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    This sounds delicious, Roger, and, once again, the dish is enhanced by your photography. I don’t recall ever seeing leeks so small around here. I’ll look for them this Summer once the farmers markets open up and I’ll be back to this page when I find them, to be sure.

  5. I have leek envy now.. green with envy I am! The fact that you are free to just saunter over to a farm and pick up fresh eggs and discover leeks… if only it were that simple here! Nope.. no lovely leeks, no vinaigrette for me I’m afraid. Anything store bought would taste like wood. I’ll take your humble leeks any day!

  6. Wonderful and (as Mad Dog mentioned) the calçots – or a similar type wil soon be available here. I am clearly selling my eggs too cheaply….will never retire on what I´m making on them!

  7. Our (Japanese) leeks look like that at least in diameter but these look shorter. Are they starchy and sweet?

  8. spree says:

    My husband and I were out to dinner with friends last night, and one of the little treats brought to us (amuse bouche) were baby leeks in an aromatic broth…they were so tender and delicately flavored. I’d never had them before (these little ones) but will forever be looking for them again. And your photos of these are lovely Roger!

  9. It’s not the size of the leeks I noticed, but the size of the knife. Looks like a nice one though.

  10. Tandy says:

    what a great snack! I would not have gone to the rugby for love or money – it looked abysmal 🙂

  11. Alli says:

    Simple perfection

  12. ....RaeDi says:

    The greens of the dish, both the dish and the leeks is stunning! I have not had, but I think I would really enjoy!

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