Leeks

 
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Basic Information

• Leeks are related to garlic, onions, shallots, and scallions.
• When grown, soil is piled up around them, so that more of the leek is hidden from the sun making it lighter in color and more tender.
• Leeks are available throughout the fall.
• Mostly just the white and light green parts are eaten, though the darker green parts have plenty of flavor and can either be cooked longer to tenderize them or used when making homemade soup stock.
• Vichyssoise is a cold soup made from puréed cooked leeks and potatoes.

Storage, Preparation and Cooking Tips

• Look for leeks that are firm and straight with dark green leaves and white necks.
• Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks. Once cooked eat within two days.
• To prepare leeks trim back the green tops and remove any tough outer leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water to remove any dirt. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking. Cut according to the recipe you plan to use.
• Leeks may be frozen after being blanched for two to three minutes.
• Add leeks to broth, soups and stews.
• Braised leeks are great sprinkled with fennel and served with fish, poultry or beef.  Braising involves lightly frying to create flavor, then slowly cooking in liquid at a low temperature in a covered pan.
• Add finely sliced leeks to your favorite omelette or frittata recipe.

 

Recipes using leeks