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).
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
- 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.
- Bring back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, or a little more depending on the size of your leeks.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.