Leeks with mustard vinaigrette is a Bistro classic; it is simple, comforting, and delicious. I use fresh, local goat cheese as the garnish now and the dish is good with chopped hard cooked eggs and/or capers. Leeks provide a beautiful base note for soups and are distinctive in egg dishes like quiche. Leeks are a member of the allium family - onions, garlic and shallots. They are unique in the fact that they don’t form underground bulbs like their other family members. Like the other family members, however, they contain allicin which is a powerful compound that fights free radical damage in your body. They are a strong source of Vitamin A which is not only good for your eyes but assists in blood cell development.
Place the mustard, sugar, anchovy or anchovy paste and salt in a small food processor. Gradually add the olive oil. Add the vinegar and water and process until thick and emulsified. Taste the dressing for balance and add salt if necessary.
Cut a slit in each of the leeks. Place them in a large container and cover with cold water. Soak the leeks for 20 to 30 minutes to dislodge any sand. Rinse to be sure they are clean.
Add 1 inch of water to a large pot fitted with a steamer insert. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the leeks to the steamer insert and cook for approximately 5 minutes until the leeks are tender. Test them with a paring knife which should insert easily.
Remove the leeks and let them dry briefly on a towel.
Toss the leeks with the mustard vinaigrette. Arrange the leeks on plates or a platter, top with the crumbled goat cheese and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
If you are going to serve the leeks cold or at a later time, refrigerate the leeks and dressing separately and dress just before serving. The vinaigrette will change the bright green color of the leeks drab if they are dressed ahead.