Last Updated February 14th, 2022 at 01:42 pm by Lisa
Fresh leeks will become one of your favorite vegetables when you know all the easy ways to cut, clean, and cook with their mild onion-like flavor.
Raw leeks can be used in place of a standard onion in your cooking. Think of them simply as oversized scallions. They are not as popular in the United States as they are in other countries around the world like France.
Follow this step-by-step guide for the best way to trim leeks, and freeze the thin strips so they are ready to go in recipes. They bring a wonderful delicate flavor to dishes and are easy to find near the spring onions in any grocery store...
How To Clean Leeks
Grown partly underground, whole leeks grow in sandy soil. A lot of dirt gets trapped on the outer leaves and inside the light green parts. And you sure don't want that in your recipe!
Step 1: On a stable cutting board, use a good sharp knife and slice off the root end of the leek and discard.
STEP 2: From the root end, slice up through the leek half way. Leave the tough green top end connected. Fill up a large bowl of cold water. This is so you can soak and begin to wash the dirt off but not have leaves go everywhere. You will begin to see the sand in the bottom of the bowl of water. Use a circular motion and swish them around.
STEP 3: Use your hands to remove a lot of dirt. The bottom of the bowl of water will get quite gritty. Put the dark green tops into the water and continue to clean. Change the dirty water several times as you go.
STEP 4: Fan the leaves open underwater to be sure they are clean. And keep changing the water until clear.
How To Cut Leeks
STEP 5: Once clean, move to a cutting board. Now slice all the way through the length of the leeks. Place the flat cut side down on the cutting board.
STEP 6: Slice the entire leek into thin half moons for your recipe.
Julienne Cut: Take 3-4 layers from leek halves, then fold in half lengthwise, and slice into thin long strips with a large chef's knife. Go slowly and use your best knife skills to slice leeks, they can slip so be careful.
Finer Slices: Take clean leek halves pieces with the flat side down, and start at one end and slice across into ⅛ inch thick half moon slices. You can then cut those strips into finer dice.
PRO TIP: After your leeks are clean, the easiest way to get them dry is in a salad spinner. They will saute nicely once dry.
How To Store Leeks
PRO TIP: My favorite method to use leeks in different ways in my cooking is to buy 2-3 fresh leeks at a time. I prefer to cut leeks all at one time and keep them frozen and ready to use.
- Fridge Storage: After you buy them, store leeks unwashed in open plastic wrap or zip top plastic bags for up to 1-2 weeks in the crisper drawer.
- Freezer Storage: Store clean sliced leeks in freezer zip lock bags or airtight container for 3-4 months. Use a kitchen or paper towel to blot them dry before you freeze or cook with them.
- Freeze the clean sliced tought top dark green leek pieces in a ziplock plastic bag, and use them to make homemade stock or broth.
Cooking With Leeks
Leeks are a mild wonderful vegetable, a "distant relative" to onions and garlic. Use these cooking tips and try them in place of regular onions in recipes.
They have a sweet delicate mild flavor. Their vibrant light green color is so pretty in dishes.
- In an extra-large heavy skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter or splash of olive oil, season with sea salt, and cracked pepper.
- Add the chopped leeks, and saute' over medium heat about 5-8 minutes until soft and light brown.
- Add a bit more butter to cooked leeks, for a delicious side dish called buttered leeks.
- Clean and chop leeks into ½ inch pieces. Rinse the cut pieces in colander and rinse very well to get all the sand and debrie removed. Pat dry with a clean paper or kitchen towel. You want them dry to roast well.
- On a large sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at 425° for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they're tender. Turn half way through at about the 10 minute mark.
Top Leeks Tips
- 2 large leeks or 3 medium yields about 2 cups (179g) sliced.
- Buy several at once, clean, slice, and keep ready in the freezer for quick recipe preparation.
- Leeks freeze well in zip-top bags and freezer containers, just like onions. It makes cooking go so much faster to have onions or leeks ready to cook with.
- Most recipes call for the white part of the leeks or the light leafy green part. The darker green parts and dark green tops of the leek can be tougher, but are a great addition in homemade chicken stock and vegetable broths.
- Think of leeks as giant green onions, and try them in different recipes in place of green onions aka scallions.
Leeks are a vegetable that tastes like mild onions. They are part of the allium family also known as the onion family. They are closely related to garlic, chives, scallions, shallots, and all other onions.
Use as a side dish, you can roast them with parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Leeks are famous in soups, stews, and vegetable or Chicken Stock.
Clean, chop and saute to add into pasta dishes, Parmesan Risotto, toss into an omelet, or sprinkle as a pizza topping. Bake into a cheesy French gratin, mix into roasted or Smashed Potatoes or in Hash Browns for breakfast.
Bake up a leek tart, a leek potato casserole, or use in scalloped potatoes.
Leeks have a delicate sweet, mild onion flavor.
They are classic in recipes like potato leek soup and gratins. They can be used in place of onions in creamy soups, stews, pasta, flatbreads, and so many other dishes.
Popular leek recipes are potato soup, cold vichyssoise, leek tarts and gratins.
More Leek Recipes
These are a couple of my favorite leek recipes, stuffed chicken breasts can be made ahead, and it makes the best pan sauce. Gorgonzola Stuffed Chicken will be a hit at family dinner with everyone, plus it's a low-carb recipe.
Chilled Cucumber Soup (aka White Gazpacho) is a refreshing Summer recipe with yogurt, grapes, green apples, topped with almonds and crab.
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How To Clean, Cut, and Cook Leeks
- 2 large leeks
- olive oil
- sea salt
- black pepper
- STEP 1: On a stable cutting board, use a good sharp knife and slice off the root end of the leek and discard.
- STEP 2: From the root end, slice up through the leek half way. Leave the tough green top end connected. Fill up a large bowl of cold water. This is so you can soak and begin to wash the dirt off but not have leaves go everywhere. You will begin to see the sand in the bottom of the bowl of water. Use a circular motion and swish them around.
- STEP 3: Use your hands to remove a lot of dirt. The bottom of the bowl of water will get quite gritty. Put the dark green tops into the water and continue to clean. Change the dirty water several times as you go.
- STEP 4: Fan the leaves open underwater to be sure they are clean. And keep changing the water until clear.
- STEP 5: Once clean, move to a cutting board. Now slice all the way through the length of the leeks. Place the flat cut side down on the cutting board.
- STEP 6: Slice the entire leek into thin half moons for your recipe.