Do NOT be intimidated by these big onions! Leeks are easy to clean and cut with a couple of steps. Take on that recipe that calls for leeks, you won’t be sorry, they are delicious!! Leeks add a sweet, oniony flavor to soups, stews, pastas, egg dishes, and more!
WHAT ARE LEEKS?
Leeks are the mildest, sweetest members of the onion family. Like other onions, leeks are used as a seasoning. Leeks resemble large green onions and are usually 1 to 2 inches thick.
They are a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin A.
Leeks are compatible with many foods but especially with lemon, butter, cheese, cream, mushrooms, potatoes, garlic, ham, bacon, thyme, parsley, and chives.
They are in season from September through April, are available in most grocery stores, and are more expensive than other onion varieties.
How to cut Leeks
The green tops are tough and fibrous. The lower portion is fibrous as well and must be cut across the grain prior to cooking.
Leek tops are usually discarded but can be kept, rinsed and used for making stock.
Leeks should be cleaned before you use them. As the green shoots push up from the ground, dirt can become lodged between their thin layers.
Select leeks with tightly-rolled dark green tops with a clean white slender bulb of at least 2 to 3 inches of white. Look for the slim, cylindrical ones rather than those that are large and bulbous.
Check the center of the leek by giving it a gentle squeeze and if there is any give, avoid buying. The middle should be firm to the touch.
Do not trim or wash leeks before storing. Leeks can exude odor into your other foods in the refrigerator. To avoid this, you will want to lightly wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Leeks can be stored anywhere from five days to two weeks depending on their freshness. Cooked leeks should be covered, refrigerated, and used within one to two days.
How to freeze leeks
- Cut and clean leeks as shown above.
- Blanch them by setting them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds (no longer than one minute). Remove leeks with a spider spatula and place them in a bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking.
- Drain the leeks thoroughly and allow to air dry.
- Spread them out on a baking sheet covered with parchment and place in freezer. Allow to freeze for 30 minutes.
- Once frozen, portion them out for use and transfer to freezer safe container.
- They will keep frozen for up to 10-12 months. If you do not blanch and just slice and freeze then the shelf life is about 2 months.
- For the best flavor do not thaw leeks before cooking them.
Now that you know how to prepare leeks it is time to make this crustless ham and cheese quiche with leeks.
How to cut and clean leeks
- 1 shun santoku knife 7 inch
- 1 wood cutting board
- 1 leek
- Cut off the dark green tops and you can save for stock or discard.
- Cut off the roots, leaving the root pad
- Slice whole in 1/4 inch slices
- For half-moon slices, slice lengthwise down the middle of the leek.
- Cut slices about 1/4 inch thick.
- Place sliced leeks in bowl of water.
- Agitate with hands to remove dirt.
- Scoop the leeks out of the bowl with your hands, drain in a colander and pat dry.