Like garlic, ramps, shallots, onions, scallions and chives, leeks are members of the allium family. As such, their taste is reminiscent of those other ingredients but a bit milder. Native to Central Asia but now used around the globe, leeks are now available in the US yearround — but are at their peak in spring and fall.
How to clean leeks
The first step in cooking leeks — and arguably the trickiest — is to clean them and trim them. Do this by cutting off the root frills and the dark green parts of the leek. So, basically, you’ll be left with the whites of the leeks and the light green portion. Then, slice the leeks in half, fan them out and give them a good, long rinse under cold running water. Leeks tend to hide dirt, and you definitely don’t want to eat dirt.
How to cook leeks
Leeks are incredible versatile and can be sauteed, grilled, roasted, braised and more. Here we are highlighting a roasted and braised leek recipe that feels special but is entirely comforting. To start, prepare your roasting pan by adding butter. olive oil and add your trimmed and cleaned leeks to the pan. Roast them in a super hot oven (at least 500F) for about 45 minutes, turning occasionally and adding 2 cups of homemade chicken stock about halfway through.
The end result is a ridiculously silky, sweet side dish that pairs well with really any kind of protein. If you just so happen to have any of these left over (which, we know, is hard to imagine), you can spread the leeks over some homemade toast for a quick lunch. Now that you know how to perfectly cook leeks in under an hour, it’s time to figure out what to do with the rest of your spring produce.