I have taken one of my favourite French classics – leeks vinaigrette – and compressed it into a beautiful vegetarian terrine. The recipe uses black truffles, which are very extravagant and expensive, but a wonderful treat. For a humbler alternative, you can make the terrine with Jerusalem artichokes, whose gentle nutty flavour is a natural partner to leeks.
For the leeks
- 12 leeks, trimmed to 15 cm (6 in) lengths (see Note)
- 3 tsp flaked sea salt
For the vinaigrette
- 4 tbsp hazelnut oil
- 1 tbsp chardonnay wine vinegar
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
To build the terrine
- 20 g (¾ oz) black truffle, very thinly sliced with a mandoline (optional; see Note)
- 10 chive sprigs, chopped
- 180 g (6¼ oz) Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, halved and steamed for 10–15 minutes (optional)
- 8 g black truffle, very thinly sliced with a mandoline (optional)
- small selection of winter leaves, such as lamb’s lettuce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 12 hours or overnight
For the terrine, double up a 30 cm x 30 cm (12 in xv12 in) piece of plastic wrap and use it to line a 15 cm x 15 cm x 5.5cm (6 in x 6 in x 2¼ in) plastic container, leaving an overhang on all sides to wrap the terrine later.
For the leeks, peel off the two outer layers (they will be too fibrous). Divide each leek into two 15 cm (6 in) lengths. In a large saucepan on high heat, bring 3 litres (5¼ pints) water and the salt to a rolling boil. Cook the leeks for 20 minutes, until completely tender. Using a slotted spoon, lift them onto a tray and leave to cool completely.
For the vinaigrette, in a bowl, whisk all the ingredients with 1 teaspoon water using a hand-held blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
To build the terrine, layer the leeks tightly side by side in the lined container (8 pieces per layer) and brush with a little of the vinaigrette. Cover with a few of the truffle slices, if using, and press down. Repeat for the second layer, alternating the white and greener parts of the leeks. Continue until you have three layers of leeks, then fold over the overhanging plastic wrap, place a second 15 cm x 15 cm x 5.5cm (6 in x 6 in x 2¼ in) plastic container on top and fill it with 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) of weight to compress the terrine (you could use some tins of beans, for example). Leave for 12 hours, or overnight. Store the remaining vinaigrette in the fridge for serving.
To serve, lift the terrine from its container onto a chopping board, keeping the plastic wrap wrapped around (this will keep the structure of the terrine when you slice it). Using a carving knife, slice the terrine into eight even slices, approximately 2 cm (¾ in) thick. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap and use a palette knife to transfer a slice to the centre of each plate.
Whisk the chives into the reserved vinaigrette, then brush this over the top of each slice of terrine. If serving with the Jerusalem artichokes, dress them with the remaining vinaigrette and scatter them around the terrine. Finish with some fine shavings of fresh truffle, if using, and winter leaves.
• The leek trimmings can be used to make soup.
• If you use truffles, slice them at the last minute and cover with plastic wrap, otherwise their essential oils will disappear.
For a cheaper and wonderfully seasonal and flavoursome alternative, pair the leeks with their friend the Jerusalem artichoke instead of truffles. Peel and halve three Jerusalem artichokes. Steam for 10-15 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Cook and prepare the leeks as above, and before you lay the first layer of leeks in the container place a line of the artichokes down the centre of the terrine then continue as above, layering the leeks around the artichokes.
See more from Raymond Blanc in Royal Gardens On A Plate, on SBS and SBS On Demand.