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Leeks Vinaigrette with Slow-cooked Duck Eggs and Fresh Cow's Curd

01 March 2013
Leeks Vinaigrette with Slow-cooked Duck Eggs and Fresh Cow's Curd

Serves four as a starter

For the fresh cow's curd
2 litres full-fat cow's milk
150ml lemon juice
1½ tsp sea salt

For the slow-cooked duck eggs and leeks vinaigrette 4 duck eggs
200g pencil leeks
1 bayleaf
2 dried juniper berries, lightly crushed
2 fresh thyme sprigs
50ml cider vinegar
2tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of caster sugar
150ml groundnut oil
1tbs rapeseed oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

To garnish Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 hard-boiled duck eggs, shelled
2 handfuls of freshly picked chickweed

For the cow's curd, rinse a medium saucepan with cold water, then put the milk, lemon juice and salt in the pan. Over a low heat, bring the milk mixture to 80°C, stirring once to prevent it from catching, but do not stir continuously. It should take up to about 10 minutes to reach 80°C. Once the correct temperature is reached, remove from the heat and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours. The curds and whey will separate during this time.

Line a colander with muslin cloth and place the colander over a bowl. Gently scoop the curds into the muslin using a slotted spoon. Transfer to the fridge and leave to drain overnight. The following day, transfer the cow's curd to a clean airtight container and keep refrigerated until needed. Fresh curd cheese should keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.

To slow-cook the duck eggs, preheat the water bath to 64°C. Cook the eggs for 45 minutes. Once cooked, transfer them to an ice bath and leave to cool and set for 20 minutes.

Prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar and salt and pepper, then slowly add the groundnut oil, whisking continuously.

nce emulsified, adjust the seasoning to taste.

To serve, in a mixing bowl, toss the leeks with a generous amount of the vinaigrette. Divide the leeks between four serving plates. To finish the slow-cooked eggs, heat the rapeseed oil in a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Crack the slow-cooked eggs into cups, then add them to the pan and fry the eggs for 30 seconds on one side only. Carefully remove the eggs from the pan and place on top of the leeks. Crumble the fresh cow's curd over the dish.

To garnish, sprinkle the lemon zest over the dish, then grate the hard-boiled eggs over the top. Finally, toss the chickweed in some of the remaining vinaigrette and then scatter this over the dish. Serve immediately.

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