You may have seen leeks at the grocery store and wondered what sort of vegetable they were.
Well, leeks are part of the onion family and, in fact, look like a giant version of green onions. However, the little green onion has a much stronger onion flavor then the leek. Another difference is that you need to cook leeks before eating them. Unlike an onion, you would not add an uncooked leek to a salad!
Leeks are a very mellow version of an onion and when cut they have a beautiful variation in color. They go from white down by the root, to a yellow center, to a really dark green at the top.
Cut the leek just below the really dark green part. Those really dark, green leaves are very tough and you don’t eat them. Like an onion, the leek has a lot of layers on the inside, except that the leek has a lot more finer layers. Each of these layers has an amazing amount of sandy grit between them. Leeks have to get washed really well to get rid of all that grit.
If you are going to cut the leaks into rings or small strips, do that first, and then put them in a bowl of cool water.
I’m using my salad spinner. The leeks will float to the top and the grit will sink to the bottom of the bowl. You will need to swish everything around a bit to make sure all the layers of leek are separated.
You can then run them through your salad spinner or just lay them out on a towel to dry off.
If you are going to cook the leek whole, you still have to cut it in half to wash it. (Or you could just make a cut half way through and spread open the leaves.) Fan out the layers with your fingers and let the water run through.
In my next post I will be making soup using these lovely leeks instead of onions!
(By the way, the leek is the national symbol of Wales!)
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