RSS Feed

One French word: poireau, a French recipe: poireaux vinaigrette

Poireau=leek, masculine noun (le poireau, un poireau, des poireaux), pronounced pouah-roe (you don’t pronounce the x in the plural).

Faire le poireau, or poireauter means to hang around or to be kept waiting a long time.

Leeks are one of the most valuable winter vegetables. They provide us with flavour and goodness all year round. Big thick ones for soup. Chopped up fine and “sweated” in butter (fondue de poireaux) as an accompaniment to fish (poisson), scallops in particular (coquilles St Jacques), or small thin ones, poached and served cold.

My vegetarian recipe for today: poireaux vinaigrette (poached leeks with a vinaigrette dressing).

Poireaux vinaigrette

You will need per person:

  • 4 small leeks, trimmed and washed
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • oil of your choice, vinegar of your choice, chopped herbs


  1. Take the trimmed and washed whole leeks (leave an inch or so of green at the top) and pop into boiling salted water in a saucepan wide enough so that you don’t have to curl the leeks around to fit them in. If they are very long, you can cut them in half.
  2. Bring back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, or a little more depending on the size of your leeks.
  3. Drain, keeping the cooking water for soup, transfer to a shallow serving dish and prop it up with a sponge or a fork or something at one end so that the last of the cooking water runs out and can be eliminated.
  4. In the meantime make a vinaigrette with a little salt and freshly ground pepper, and, per person, a third of a tbs vinegar and one tbs oil. You may also add Dijon mustard if you wish. What you use is the way of vinegar and oil is largely up to you, but vary your vinaigrettes, using cider vinegar, wine vinegar, balsamic, raspberry vinegar (in the photo I used vinaigre au poivron doux et au piment d’Espelette, a pungent bell pepper and chili based vinegar. Same goes for the oil, use olive, peanut, corn, hazelnut, walnut… I used olive here, but I often use hazelnut.
  5. Add chopped herbs, mine were chervil, parsley, chives (cerfeuil, persil, ciboulette). Use anything you have to hand or which particularly takes your fancy. You can also garnish this dish with chopped hard boiled egg (un oeuf dur). It makes it more colourful and nourishing. Cook the egg with the leeks.

Serve as a starter, or as a vegetable with cold meat.

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

3 responses »

  1. Faire le poireau sounds absolutely crazy translated into swedish, I will try to introduce it! Had forgotten how much I like leeks, your poireaux vinaigrette will be tried!

    • I do like hearing from you Inga-Lill! Well apparently in French it comes from the fact that leeks stay embedded straight up in the ground for as long as it takes for someone to come and dig them up; so sometimes they wait a very long time! There is another French expression concerning leeks which is a bit rude, so I decided not to include it so that my blog would not go into an adult material zone!
      Poireau vinaigrette is so simple, so good, but we sometimes look for complicated instead…

  2. bench jacken winter
    Cool details! I have been looking for anything such as this for some time today. Excellent!


It's so much more fun if you leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: