Leeks are a member of the onion family and most often used for soups, but they are also delicious cooked and served as a side dish. Here are instructions for three different ways you can prepare them…
- Cut the green top leaves off to just where they begin to flatten together.
- Remove any roots and a thin slice of the white end (if tough).
- Wash thoroughly, being sure to remove any soil between leaves.
Method #1 – Boiled
- Tie in loose bunches just as you do with asparagus.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (1 teaspoon salt per 1 qt. of water)–use enough water to cover them completely.
- Once water is boiling, plunge them into the pot and cook uncovered until done (about 25 minutes for large ones, approx 18-20 minutes for small tender ones).
Method #2 – Grilled
- Grilling these is very similar to doing so with asparagus, after cleaning and preparing them, coat them with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Lay each piece sideways across medium-hot grill so they won’t fall through (you can also skewer them together before laying on grill).
- Turn them occasionally so they don’t char, remove them when done (they should be nice and tender and brown all over). Time will vary according to thickness, typically 5 to 12 minutes.
Method #3 – Steamed
- Clean and trim into 1″ to 2″ pieces.
- Place in steamer basket above 1″ of boiling water.
- Cook for 10 minutes or until tender then remove from heat (time will vary according to thickness).
- Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper then serve.
A few tips:
- Serving ideas: Drain well and serve with cream sauce; cheese sauce; butter or dripping sauce.
- Quantity: Allow approximately 4-5 small tender leeks per person or 3 large per portion.
- When boiling, try placing a piece of stale bread on surface of water to absorb odor.
- They combine well with any vegetable that takes kindly to onions.
- Medium sized stalks are done whole, large ones are sliced in half lengthwise.
Source: Portions of this article were adapted from the booklet “Vegetable Cook Book” by McFayden Seeds (1948)