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David Lebovitz's leeks vinaigrette in his new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, is a perfect example of his ability to subtly add a bit of excitement to French food. He keeps most of the traditional dish intact—soft-cooked leeks drizzled with mustardy vinaigrette and scattered with a bit of hardboiled egg. But his addition of smoky bacon brings new life to the salad, adding salty sweetness and a bit of meaty crunch to every bite. The idea may have elicited a groan or two from his Parisian partner, but it is spot-on in my mind.
Why I picked this recipe: Leeks vinaigrette is a glorious spring dish.
What worked: Steaming the leeks is a smart move—it cooks the allium gently and keeps its subtle flavor intact.
What didn't: This may be blasphemy, but I thought there was a bit too much bacon in the dish. I'd back off by a slice or two.
Suggested tweaks: If you'd like to keep the dish vegetarian, you can certainly leave off the bacon. In that case, you'll want to season the salad more aggressively. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt would do the trick.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to KQED's Bay Area Bites, SFoodie, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.