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?
Thanks for this…have avoided leeks for just the same reason…this makes it look way easier…so are you going to share the recipe for the curry cauliflower soup????
Well of course I can. I feel like I need to make it at home again to get a good feel for how to share it here. If you’re dyeing for it I could always email it to you…let me know.
Melissa M says
I will never be able to call them leeks again! I’m envisioning sending hubby to the store for “marvs”… he’ll be in the produce aisle calling me ” what’s a marv?” and I’ll be yelling at him because they’re right in front of him…. “MARVS! Get me some marvs!!!”
Oh my goodness that’s funny! Let’s just start renaming fruits and vegi’s really mess our hubbies up at the grocery store!
The Contessa says
Thanks for the tutorieal. I love the flavor of leeks, but I ususally have onions on hand.
I’d love it if you shared this with us at What’d You Do This Weekend? I think it would be very helpful.
I’ve Pinned and shared this with every tool available!
Wishes for tasty dishes,
Debbie @TheHipHostess says
Thank you, Sheila! I’ve only used leeks for Leek Soup, and this is the task I hate. You have opened the door for more leeks in my recipes!
I’m glad! Cause they are fabulous…but ugh all the grit and grime who needs it!
Thank you! I love the tip about cutting them in quarters, but connected by the stem, and then plunging them into and ice bath. How simple is that! I’ll have to give this one a try. Maybe leeks won’t be so scary now!
Listen, and this is more than two cents worth – I ALWAYS rinse a big bunch of leeks, dry in my OXO-spinner and then – into the freezer. I learned that from a woman who couldn’t cook at all – but she knew what I needed to know – and have done ever since! Leek could be my middle name.