Do you cook with leeks? I love leeks but I have to admit I choose onions over them more often than not because I’m afraid of all the dirt and grit that needs to be cleaned out before I can use them. This is a bummer because so often leeks are the better choice for a recipe than onions. They lend a great texture and bright green color that onions don’t, and their flavor is milder, and I want to say greener than onions. Is greener a flavor? I think it is. Leeks are great in salads, sauté’d and used in soups, stews, on pizza, omelets, quiches you name it where ever a onion can go so can a leek.
I just kind of wish Leeks had another name. The word leek conjures up negative thoughts of slipping, dripping, escaping, babbling or maybe peeing, and well basically loosing something in some way shape or form. If I were given the job of naming vegetables I think I would have called this plant Ummmm errr I don’t know, naming plants is really hard, I guess I would name it Marv. Marv is a good name a short name. Potato and Marv Soup sounds nice don’t ya think?
So what’s the deal here, what am I getting at? When I was in NYC a couple weeks ago I took a cooking class all about Butter, one of our recipes included sauteing leeks in butter and then making a fabulous Curry Cauliflower Soup with them. I was assigned the cleaning of the leeks. ERG of course I get the scab jobs….I thought to myself no one wants to clean those pesky things! However, I should know that ever situation is a learning opportunity, and this was one! Chef Sue at ICE gave us all a lesson in leek. Because of this I am no longer afraid of da leek….or marv as I like to call him.
Chef Sue you are an amazing and very patient teacher I learned so much you in just one day!
Here is what she told us:
Get a large bowl of ice water.
Rinse leeks and pull off outer layer of leek especially if it’s damaged or dried out.
1. Cut off the top third of the leek or all the darker leaves, this is great for making stock or to use as a bouquet garni in soups and stews, if you have no idea what bOh-ket Garney is well then just discard the dern leaves, it’s OK , really it’s OK. 2. Using a sharp knife cut the leek from stem to stern or up the middle. 3. give it a flip and do this again, so that your marv is sliced in quarters but held together by the bottom section.
Like so, isn’t marv purdy?
Now plunge into ice water and let soak for 15 minutes. Allowing the sand and grit to soak to the bottom and the bugs to float to the top. See Mr. Buggy floating around in the upper right hand corner? So sorry to ruin you and marv’s party.
Remove from ice water and give one more quick rinse with cold water pat dry with paper towel. Now you are ready to slice, and because you already quarted them it makes it easy just to give your leeks a quick cut across the grain for perfectly chopped marvs…er I mean leeks.
Voila! There you have it. You can do this ahead and keep them in a airtight container, they will last 4-5 days like this in your refrigerator. This way you can use them when needed.
Do you cook with leeks? What is your favorite way to use them?