How to Clean and Prepare Leeks

I love leeks. I always grow lots of leeks, scallions and chives because I prefer them to white or yellow onions. You will have leeks as a choice this week in your CSA share. I hope you try them.

Onions and leeks are completely interchangeable in uses. Leeks are always sweet, never hot or spicy like some onions can be, and have a distinct oniony flavor that doesn’t get lost in dishes. Texture wise, when you cook them they almost melt into the background of a dish. Many leek recipes will say; ‘cook leeks until meltingly soft’ that is one thing that makes them special.

Behold the leek. They sort of look like scallions but the leek stems are flat and scallion and onion stems are round and hollow.

They take a little more effort to wash and prepare compared to a humble onion, not much more, and with leeks you don’t have to deal with onion paper flying all over your kitchen. One thing is for sure, leeks are dirty. They are either dirty or very dirty. They catch dirt and sand in the layers in their stems.

First thing you want to do is cut off the tough dark stems and leave all of the white bulb.

You can save the stem for stock or compost it. If I have room in my freezer I throw them in the freezer and make stock when I have enough other vegetables.

Next you want to cut off the little ‘root beards’ and decide if you want to keep your leeks whole or cut them into rounds. Usually if you are braising them you will keep them whole and cut a slit down the middle, if you are using them in a soup base or sauteed you will make them round.

Fill a bowl with water and either swish your whole leeks in the bowl to wash the sand out.

Or throw your rounds in the water and swoosh them around to let the sand sink to the bottom.

Fish them out of the water and-TaDa! Your leeks are ready use!

Use these in any dish like you would onions and I think you will really like the pronounced sweet onion flavor and texture leeks have.






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