A versatile vegetable, which is a member of the onion and garlic family. Leeks have a milder, sweeter flavour than onions, although they need to be cooked thoroughly to bring out the sweetness and to avoid an overpowering flavour. Small to medium leeks are the most tender (see Baby leeks). Choose leeks with firm white bulbs and bright green crisp leaves. Avoid leeks that have had the base of the root removed as they will deteriorate quickly.
How to Use
Leeks can be pan-fried, baked or braised and served as an accompanying vegetable. They can also be included in a wide variety of dishes including casseroles, soups, stuffings, omelettes, vegetable bakes, risottos, pies and quiches and pasta sauces.
How to Prepare
The layers between leeks can trap grit or soil so they should be thoroughly washed before use. Cut off the root and any of the green leaves that look tough. Slice and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.
How to Cook
Leeks can be pan-fried, baked or braised. To pan-fry, heat a little olive oil and butter in a frying pan, add the sliced leeks and cook gently for 5-10 minutes or until tender. To bake, preheat the oven to 190C, gas mark 5, place the prepared, sliced leeks in an ovenproof dish, cover with cheese or white sauce and bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender. To braise leeks, pour a little chicken or vegetable stock into a frying pan, add the sliced leeks, cover and cook gently for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
How to Store
: Keep in the fridge, for up to 1 week.