I love substituting leeks for onions in certain recipes. If you haven’t ever tasted a leek before, they are related to the onion and garlic. Leeks look like giant green onions and have a mild onion flavor.
Rather than forming a bulb, like an onion, the leek resembles a stalk or stem. They are composed of many delicate layers that are often full of dirt and sand, so you have to clean them before use.
You’ll also discard much of the leek because you only use the white and pale green portion of the stalk. The dark green part is tough, woody and often bitter and is better suited to your compost bin.
How do you Clean a Leek?
1. Using a knife, remove the roots portion off the bottom of the leek just above the base and discard.
2. Then, cut the dark green, woody part of the stalk off and discard. You’ll only use the white and pale green portions of the leek.
3. Next, slice the white and pale green reserved portion in half lengthwise. (see photo below)
4. Chop or slice the leek halves as directed in your recipe instructions. Place all the sliced leeks in a medium-large bowl, one with enough room to add water.
5. Fill the bowl with water and submerge the leeks. Swish the leeks with your hand to help remove any sand or dirt embedded in the layers.
6. Drain the leeks and water into a colander. Give the leeks a quick rinse with cold water, swishing again with your hand. Remove from the bowl and pat dry.
7. Proceed according to your recipe instructions.
See? It’s not so hard. It might seem like extra work, but really it just takes a minute once you know what to do. And not only leeks are really yummy, they are high in Vitamin C, Potassium, and protect against heart disease (source: What are the Benefits of Leeks?). For recipe ideas, check out the below links.