Cooking for Beginners: Leeks

Transitioning to real food means learning to buy and prepare new ingredients. Each post in this series will introduce you to a food with which you may never have cooked. Let’s get to know fresh, new ingredients.

Leeks look like overgrown green onions, and indeed, they belong in the onion and garlic family. They are a gentler cousin of the onion, with their own, distinct taste.
Organic Leeks

Leek isn’t a tricky vegetable to buy. If it looks good (firm and unblemished), then it’s fresh. If it looks like it’s seen better days, then it has. They are sometimes sold with the dark green ends cut off.

Storing Leeks
Store your leeks in the fridge. They keep for a relatively long time.

Cleaning Leeks
Because of the way leeks grow, dirt gets lodged in between the leaves of the plant. So it isn’t enough to just wash the outside of a leek to clean clean. Wash it in the following way:

1. Cut the root end off.

2. Cut all but about 2-3 centimeters (an inch) of the dark green top.

3. If necessary, pull off the outer layer (or part of it).

4. Slit the top of the leek down its length.

5. Wash it, using your fingers to get rid of the dirt.

Cooking with LeeksBefore chopping a leek, I usually slit it and then slice into small half moons, which I then separate. Some people use them in salads, but they are really much better cooked in soups or stews. If you want a mild oniony taste in a salad, use a green onion.

To get acquainted with the taste of leeks, a good start would be to use it in an omelet. Leek pairs fantastically well with butter. Any recipe that combines leeks and butter couldn’t be bad.

Omelet with LeeksIngredients½ Cup sliced leek

1 Tbsp. of butter

2 Tbsp milk or water

2 eggs


freshly ground pepper


Break 2 eggs into a bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color.

Add the milk or water, salt and pepper, then beat the mixture well.

Sauté the leek in good quality butter over low heat until it starts to brown.

Pour the eggs over the leek mixture. Don’t stir. Let the bottom set.

Flip and cook till it is done to your liking.


Amanda said...

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Stephanie said...

One of my favorite leek recipes is simply carmelized leeks with some fresh herbs over pasta. Delicious!

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