Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tartine Poireaux-Oeufs Brouillés: French-Style Open-Faced Sandwich with Leeks and Soft-Scrambled Eggs

My secret "escape plan" from my often monotonous days of work and law school is somewhat of a cliche, but that doesn't make it any less tempting. It's especially seductive in this crazy economy, when law students are no longer in demand, and I begin to question if there's a point to my years of studying, researching, and writing endless exams and papers on minute points of law. "If I get laid off...", I muse (often during class or a particularly mind-numbing research project at work), "I'd go to Paris and enroll in culinary school, resurrect my crappy high school French, and obtain fabulous style and joie de vivre."

Obviously, I have been reading too many books like this one- but it's a nice dream. One great aspect of living in D.C. is that I can pretend, on beautiful sunny days like this past Sunday when spring finally made an appearance, that it is a European city. To keep up this buoyant desire, I like to stroll down to the Dupont Market like it's one of the famed Parisian food marchets and buy fresh ingredients to make a delicious, sophisticated lunch.

This weekend, one of Molly's recipes (shocking, I know!) jumped out at me for this exact quality. I had never soft-scrambled eggs before, but the combination of fluffy curds and tender sauteed leeks seemed so perfectly French- flavorful, simple, yet luxurious.

I bought some leeks and farm fresh eggs at the market, reveling in the gorgeous spring weather that brought what seemed like every resident out of hibernation and into the sun. Then I went home and fixed this sandwich, and it was just bliss.


For the leeks:
3 small leeks
A nub of butter
1 tsp sugar
A pinch of salt
½ Tbs crème fraîche (note: I did not have crème fraîche when I made this, but I mixed my leftover leeks with a tablespoon of heavy cream the next day- it was astoundingly good. Next time, I will use the crème fraîche from the start!)

For the eggs:
2 large eggs
2 tsp water
1/8 tsp salt
A small nub of butter, melted

For serving:
Two or three bias-cut slices of baguette, or a large slice of country-style crusty bread, toasted
Freshly ground pepper


Begin by preparing the leeks: trim the root end off each leek, and slice them across their width into roughly ¼-inch-thick coins. Place the cut-up leeks in the basket insert of a salad spinner, place the basket in the bowl of the spinner, and fill the bowl with cold water. Let the leeks sit for a few minutes in the water; then use your hand to swish them around, loosening and removing any dirt that may be hidden in their layers. Remove the basket from the bowl, dump the water out of the bowl, return the basket to the bowl, and spin the leeks dry. [Alternately, if you don’t have a salad spinner, simply soak and wash the leeks in a bowl of water, and dry them with paper towels.]

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, the sugar, and the salt, and stir to mix. Cover the skillet to allow the leeks to begin to sweat a bit, and, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary if they begin to cook too quickly, allow the leeks to cook for about 15 minutes, until they are fragrant, soft, and almost melting. Add the crème fraîche, and cook the leeks a minute or two more, stirring in the crème fraîche as it melts. Set the skillet aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, salt, and melted butter. Pour this mixture into a small saucepan, and place it over low heat, whisking constantly. When the mixture begins to coagulate ever so slightly and form tiny oatmeal-like lumps, begin a little dance of removing the pot from the heat and replacing it so that the eggs don’t cook too quickly, and reach all over the corners and bottom of the pot with your whisk. The eggs are ready when they resemble loose oatmeal; the process should take between 5 and 9 minutes.

Place the slices of toasted bread on a plate, and spoon the scrambled eggs on top of them. Top the eggs with a layer of leeks. Serve immediately, with salt and pepper as needed.

Serves one, with leftover leeks.

1 comment:

  1. That looks tasty. I suppose I should wait until your Dad in over the no bread thing...or maybe not!