I remember the first time I went to the local farmer’s market store when we moved here in early March a few years back. I was so enamored with the ambience of the place, I didn’t even care that the shelves were practically bare and the reality of March in NY when it comes to local foods is pretty slim. I left with some local bacon and an ungodly amount of leeks, pretty much the only thing that was technically “in season” at the time and we ate these green little beauties in practically every meal for about 2 weeks. 1 leek goes a long way…
A Guide to Spring Vegetables – Leeks
Leeks are fun because after far too many months of boring white onions, you can finally throw something green in your sauté pan! Plus, their cute little circles always get me. Even the dirt they seem to amass doesn’t bother me because…well, they’re cute and green. I’ve never missed that color as much as I do in the winter months when all I see as I look out the window is gray, white and brown. Bonus – they’re milder than their onion cousins and don’t make you cry while chopping!
Peak season: March-April so stock up and get your fix now!
Varieties: There are winter and summer leeks. Winter leeks are harvested in the beginning of spring (now!) and tend to be heartier and more flavorful than the smaller and more mild summer leeks.
What to look for: Leeks should be straight, firm and bright green. Wilted and yellow looking outer leaves/tops mean it’s past it’s prime. The smaller in diameter, the more tender. Try avoiding any stalks bigger than about 1.5 inches wide.
How to store it: Easy, just store them in the plastic bag you bought them in and refrigerate for 5-10 days.
How to prepare it: Leeks must be cleaned thoroughly before using as they contain lots of dirt from the way they grow. The best way to clean them is to trim the top and bottom off, cut lengthwise down the stalk and then chop into half circles. Place half circles in a bowl of water, gently mix with your hands and let the dirt settle to the bottom. Repeat again if necessary. Leeks are used like onions and are best sautéed or braised.
Nutritional benefits: Leeks are a great source of vitamin K, maganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin A.
Leek recipes from Running to the Kitchen
Leek recipes from around the web
Smokey white cheddar mac and cheese with leeks – An Edible Mosaic
Mushroom & leek migas – Girlichef
Fried leek rings and homemade ketchup – What Jew Wanna Eat
Mushroom and leek bread pudding – Noble Pig
Smashed red potatoes and leeks – Oh My Veggies
Leek salad with grilled haloumi - A Food for Thought\
Cheesy leeks and orzo – Farm Fresh Feasts
Twice cooked pork with leeks – Pass the Fresh
Leek, mushroom and bacon pizza – Taste and Tell
Vichyssoise potato and leek soup – Baked by Rachel
Next week: A GUIDE TO SPRING VEGETABLES – PEAS