Oh, goodness. Leeks are delicious. The somewhat milder cousin of onions, it doesn’t take much to bring out their subtle sweetness. I don’t remember really eating a lot as a kid because my mom only used them in split pea soup, which I had refused to eat. Sometimes I just sub leeks for onions because my stomach tends to be a little less bothered by leeks. Never mind, the advantages of the fresh, bright flavour of these often forgotten aromatic vegetables.
Look for leeks that are nice and firm, with no droopy bits and that have dark green tops. Cleaning them can feel harrowing, but once you know where that pesky sand hides, it’s a breeze to get rid of it. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they’re not even sandy. I’ve found the best way to clean them is to make sure you’ve cut them lengthwise before submerging them in cold water. Look especially carefully at the part where the green goes white, as that’s generally where the most dirt and grit is hidden. You might have to use the force of your fingertips to get it out of there.
Like all other vegetables features, I have two quick ways for you to try out leeks today. Don’t forget to let us know on our Facebook page if there’s anything you want to see here!
Based on Martha Stewart’s
1 tablespoon non-dairy margarine
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 leek, ends trimmed, cut lengthwise and trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white wine
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
In a skillet, heat the margarine and olive oil over medium heat. Thinly slice the leek, on a bias. Add the garlic and rosemary to the margarine and olive oil and stir. Add the leeks and salt and keep them moving, so the garlic doesn’t burn. Sautee for serveral minutes, until the leeks start to lose their water. Add the wine and water, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes. Take the lid off, turn the heat back up to medium and let all the liquid evaporate. Add the non-dairy milk and let it reduce for several minutes before taking off the heat, tasting for seasoning and serving warm.
2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed, quartered and then sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
Small handful fresh chives, chopped (~2 tablespoons)
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 F. Lay the sliced leeks out evenly on the baking sheet, with the sliced ends facing up. You can simply group the green ends together in small bundles, as they will come loose when you slice them. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, herbs and chives until well combined. Brush the mixture over the leeks, as evenly as you can. Roast the leeks for about half an hour, until they have started to caramelize. Serve hot or cold. You might put them in a sandwich or on a salad, if that strikes your fancy.
– Your own split pea soup. It doesn’t take much to make split peas really yummy. I have a recipe that makes it for two, if you’re interested.
– Toss your scalloped or au gratin potatoes with leeks, for a fun and green twist.
– One day, I’ll have my friend Beth guest post with her easier than easy Leek and Potato soup. In the meantime, maybe try Jaime Oliver’s.