Leeks vinaigrette with eggs mimosa

Serves 5

A timeless classic, elegant and simple. Eggs mimosa are so called because they resemble the flower, and as Lake House provided us with 30 of the freshest eggs - not quite enough for us to make cakes - we decided to make this lovely dish.

20-25 trimmed small leeks, well washed
200ml/7fl oz verjus or wine
300ml/10fl oz water
8 whole black peppercorns
4 sprigs of thyme
3 fresh bay leaves

For the vinaigrette

11/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2tbsp red-wine vinegar
100ml/31/2fl oz extra-virgin olive oil

Eggs mimosa, to serve

2 organic free-range eggs, hard-boiled
A handful of black olives
Small bunch of curly parsley, finely sliced

Check that the leeks are thoroughly cleaned; they can retain a lot of dirt. Place the verjus and water into a pan and add the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Place over a medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, then add the leeks. Turn down the heat slightly and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: place the mustard and cream into a small bowl, add a little salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Add the red-wine vinegar and whisk together. Now slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking as you do so, until you get a thick, emulsified sauce.

Now peel the hard-boiled eggs and grate them on the finest holes of your grater – they should have the lightest texture imaginable. As soon as the leeks are tender, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Lay them neatly on top of each other on warm plates and spoon over half the vinaigrette. Scatter the grated eggs and the olives, sprinkle over the parsley, and drizzle over the last of the vinaigrette. Serve at once with warm crusty bread to mop it all up.

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