Leeks Vinaigrette with Cranberry Shallot Relish and Toasted Hazelnuts
Published November 16, 2017
Cranberries are one of the very few commercially grown fruits that are native to North America, and as such they aren't very common in France. So when I saw the bags of fresh red berries on the shelf at one of the larger local grocery markets, I practically bought the entire display! Not entirely sure what I was going to do with them, I dumped the whole lot into a chest freezer, because if I know anything, it's that cranberries keep remarkably well in the freezer.
Still, it didn't take long for me to come up with an idea to make use of them. I absolutely love the idea of evolving classic French dishes by bringing a little of my own je ne sais quoi to their execution and so decided flip the classic leeks vinaigrette on its head by keeping the leeks slightly crunchy and using lemon juice as the acid in their seasoning.
The traditional vinegar and Dijon mustard-based dressing are then brought back into play as a cranberry and shallot relish of sorts. I think the result is successfully fresh and tart, which pairs deliciously with the natural sweetness of the leeks. A perfect option to lighten up a heavier fall meal.
Leeks can be really dirty in between their outermost leafy layers, so make sure to wash them thoroughly before cooking. Nobody likes the feeling of sand between their teeth.
Link to the recipe here.