Young Leeks, Watercress & Asparagus with Tofu Gribiche

This springtime dish from Lee the Vegan is best enjoyed at the height of asparagus season. It's a delicious, fresh side for any summer supper.

Peace and Parsnips
From the book Peace and Parsnips
By

Introduction

Some of my most magical memories are of camping in the Côte d’Or in France during le
vendange (the grape-picking season). We were tipsy by 9 a.m. (purely medicinal for the
back pain!) and by 10 a.m. had already munched our first whole baguette, the grape-pickers’
version of an express lunch, containing lashings of butter, marinated artichokes, local cheese
and slabs of chocolate (this was in pre-vegan times of rampant indigestion). I returned to
Britain like an overweight lump of salted beurre, with Beaujolais-tinted cheeks and a smile
painted on my face. Many things have changed since then, but my love of old-fashioned
romance, good French wine and gribiche are undiminished. I have tampered in a vegan
fashion with the traditional recipe, but have always loved the tangy herbiness of this little
condiment.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

500g young leeks, trimmed and cleaned
400g young asparagus, trimmed
300g watercress, well washed and dried
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
For the tofu gribiche:
240g firm tofu, well drained
3 tsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh chervil or parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp unrefined light brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Instructions

1. Make the gribiche, preferably beforehand. Put the tofu into a bowl and break it down, using a
fork – it should resemble hard-boiled eggs. Now mix in the capers and herbs and season well. Mix
together the oil, sugar, lemon juice and mustard in a small bowl and stir it into the tofu. Cover and
pop into the fridge for at least 30 minutes (2 hours is ideal).

2. Fill a medium saucepan two-thirds full with water, add a little salt, and bring to a rolling boil.
Dunk in your leeks and cook for a couple of minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set
aside to cool. Allow the water to come back to the boil, plunge in your asparagus and cook for a
couple of minutes, then remove and set aside. Bring the water back to the boil again, blanch the
watercress for 30 seconds and set aside also. (Keep this water: it is awesome stock.)

3. When cooled, dry the asparagus and leeks on kitchen paper (the leeks may need a gentle
squeeze). Put a griddle pan on a high heat and brush with a little olive oil. When very hot,
chargrill the leeks and asparagus for 1 minute each side. This will bring out even more of their
flavours and also looks very cool indeed.

4. Once the vegetables are cool, place them on a shallow serving plate with the watercress. Spoon
over the gribiche and top with a scattering of pine nuts. It’s a green feast!

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