Warm leek and artichoke salad

We are always serving warm vegetable salads in the restaurant. They are constantly changing depending on the time of year and availability of ingredients. It is vital that you use the freshest and best quality vegetables you can get your hands on. Although this dish looks fairly simple, there are a number of elements to it which makes it a slightly challenging dish to bring together.

Method:

  1. Poach the leeks in the olive oil at a very low temperature (approx. 85 degrees). This will take anywhere between 25 to 50 minutes. There ready when they are soft and knife pierces them easily. Allow to cool in the oil.
  2. Peel and chop one of the parsnips. Place in a saucepan and cover with milk and cream. Cook gently until the parsnip is very soft, adding extra liquid if needed. Transfer to a liquidiser and blend until smooth, adding a little butter (25g or so) at this stage will help to achieve a rich, glossy puree. Season and keep warm.
  3. Peel the artichokes and the remaining parsnip. Cut the artichokes into wedges (4 per choke) and the parsnip into batons. Gently poach the vegetables separately until just starting to soften. Be careful with the artichokes especially as they will begin to breakdown if overcooked. Run under cold water to cool the vegetables down, dry and set aside.
  4. Roll each quail egg in flour, egg and then breadrumbs.
  5. Slice each leek in half lengthways and place cut side down in a medium to hot frying pan with a little oil until caramelised. Season and keep warm.
  6. In the same pan roast the artichokes and parsnips in a little oil and butter over a medium heat until they caramelise slightly.
  7. Peel and finely slice the potato and deep fry until crisp (about 2 minutes)
  8. Deep fry the quail eggs for 1 minute only.
  9. Now put the dish together. Start with a spoonful of parsnip puree, add the artichoke and parsnip pieces, place the leek on top, arrange 2 quail eggs per person and some violet potato crisps. Finish with a couple of dressed leaves.

You will need

2 small to medium leeks , green removed and washed very thoroughly
500g Jerusalem artichokes
2 parsnips
8 peeled soft boiled quail eggs
1 potato (violet if possible, otherwise a slightly floury variety such as Maris Piper will be fine)
100g breadcrumbs (panko are the best), a little flour and 1 beaten egg
100ml double cream
100ml milk
300ml olive oil
50g unsalted butter
A few green salad leaves, such as mustard, nasturtiums or chrysanthemums