There’s a wonderful old song from the musical Camelot- “How to Handle a Woman,” but, alas, we’re not going there today. Our mission today is to figure out the best way to get the good out of leeks.
Leeks are a member of the lily family and a kissing cousin of the onion. They look a lot like green onions, except they are bigger and the dark green leaves at the ends are generally not usable. With green onions, the dark green leaves are chopped and called “chives.”
So cut off just a bit of the root base of your leek and then cut the dense dark green leaves and discard them.
You’re left with the lighter green stem.
But before you start chopping them up, you need to get the grit out of the leek. Because the stem sections are so dense, grit can get caught between the layers, making for an unpleasant bite if you don’t rinse it out. Some suggest that you chop the leeks and then let them sit in water; however, the advice I use is to cut the stem lengthwise and then soak the leek in water for at least 20 minutes.
Feel free to pull apart the layers so that you can be sure all grit is gone.
And after this, you’re good to go. Drain the water and chop away. You can also store cleaned leeks in the fridge for several days in an airtight container.
Add leeks to soup, or sautee with other vegetables, like brussel sprouts. In the days ahead, please watch for recipes using the leek. I hope you feel confident to try the leek if you haven’t tackled one in the past.