Storage and Preparation:
Do not wash or trim leeks until you are
ready to use them. Store leeks vegetables in a plastic bag in the
vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for no longer than seven to ten
days, depending on how fresh they were when you bought them.
The one drawback to serving leeks often, other than their cost here in
America, is the work it takes to get them clean. It is not a chore you
can skimp on, because leeks that are not adequately washed will be very
unpleasantly gritty and will ruin any dish they are used in.
To clean the leeks, cut off the root end and most of the green leaves,
2 to 3 inches above the white. If leeks are very thin, it may be
possible to simply separate the leaves a bit and run fresh, cold water
into them, from the top down. If the leeks are large, or very dirty; it
will be necessary to split them. Take a knife with a sharp point and
insert it into the leek where the green begins. Slit the white down
almost to the root on at least two sides. If the leeks are very large,
you may have to halve them. Wash leeks vegetables thoroughly in copious
amounts of water, separating the leaves as much as possible to wash out
all the grit. Drain well.
Small leeks can be cut on the diagonal and added to stir-fries. Or they
can be boiled whole in salted water to cover for 3 minutes, drained,
and then roasted. Leeks can be braised or boiled (whole or cut up),
drained, and sauced with everything from vinaigrette to Hollandaise.
Large leeks should be sliced or cut into sticks - thick or thin,
depending on the recipe. Leeks vegetables can be added directly to
soups, stews or stocks; or they can be sauteed in butter to add to
quiches, casseroles, or many other dishes including omelets.