How to Take a Leek

Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

How to Take a Leek

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:27 pm

I have always enjoyed braised leeks, but I see so many different methods of doing it and many seem to result in a sub-par result, either rendering it into a charred mess, or chopping it up into soggy confetti.

I can't say that my way is the best way, but its the way we like them.

Take small leeks. Save the big ones for something else. No bigger than your thumb. Well, my thumb, anyway.

Take the leeks and cut off the root and the green part above where it branches out. You don't want to do the 'split and shake around in water rinse' technique, you want just the tightly wrapped part that isn't going to have dirt inside. Remove the outer leaves if they are coarse.

When you have the BBQ up to heat, drop them on, and turn them a couple of times. It shouldn't take more than 5-6 minutes total on a hot barbie to get good markings on the outside. If you leave them on too long, you can always remove the outer layer, but you run the risk that you will render the insides soft and squishy, which isn't what we are after.

Immediately put the leeks into a snap on plastic container and seal (I often drizzle with EVOO before I seal them up. Leave them alone for 10-15 minutes so the cooking continues and the leeks are cooked through but not soft. You can serve them warm or chill them for cold service later and this method is simpler than blanching and then grilling and I think it gives a nicer tactile feel - not slimy or slippery, but still crisp but tender.

Toppings/dressings include balsamic vinegar and EVOO, S&P, bacon bits (which go with just about anything! - and I mean real bacon, not fake bacon as found at chain restaurant sald bars - but surely I don't have to say that here.) I rarely get any fancier than that although people seem to want to add cheese, dried tomatoes, peppers, Heaven knows what. I like simple, maybe a vinaigrette....but I hate to see that ravelled pile of sad stringy looking leeks that often results from some recipes and techniques I've seen.

Any other fave leek preparations?
User avatar
Bill Spohn
He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'
 
Posts: 5011
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Vancouver BC

Re: How to Take a Leek

Postby Karen/NoCA » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:20 pm

I love leeks, love the way they smell when in a sauté especially. I've never found a way to braise them that I like. I leave the root end on, then cut the tough dark green part off. Slit the tough outer leaves and take them off until you see less and less dirt usually up near the cut end. Open the leaves as much as you can and put under the fauct to wash, keeping the leek intact, because the roots are still there.
Then, give them a good shake, then cut off the roots, and slice, 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices. I have never seen any dirt in them after doing this. Then, use them in omeletes, soups, stews, pastas, beans, and chili dishes. They just sort of seem to melt right into a dish, and offer of wonderful flavor to savory foods.
Karen/NoCA
Hunter/Gatherer
 
Posts: 5264
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:55 pm

Re: How to Take a Leek

Postby Christina Georgina » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:53 pm

Very interesting to me. I gave up cooking leeks to serve as a stand alone precisely for the reasons mentioned. They always came out an unappetizing color and with a soggy stringiness that refused cutting. Use them all the time chopped, fried, carmelized as part of a braise for something else. Also lightly carmelized in butter with seasonings of choice and then whizzed in a blender, processor or hand blender as a puree for pasta sauce, lasagna, dolloped in a soup, base for seared scallops....love the depth of flavor they add
Mamma Mia !
Christina Georgina
Wine guru
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 4:37 pm

Re: How to Take a Leek

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:36 am

Christine Huang's Leek Puree (and I quote):

The Leek Puree is as easy as it gets. I usually use 1 medium leek per person. Clean it thoroughly and cut into 2" pieces, using the white and light green parts only. Boil in salted water for roughly 4-5 minutes, just until they are soft. Drain, but do not press out the water. Pulse in a food processor until you get the consistency you want. Add 1 Tablespoon of butter per 2 leeks or to your taste. Salt and Pepper to taste. That's it. It will taste like you used a lot more butter than you actually did.
Jeff Grossman/NYC
That 'pumpkin' guy
 
Posts: 2821
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am
Location: NYC

Re: How to Take a Leek

Postby Jenise » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:23 pm

Christina Georgina wrote: Also lightly carmelized in butter with seasonings of choice and then whizzed in a blender, processor or hand blender as a puree for pasta sauce, lasagna, dolloped in a soup, base for seared scallops....love the depth of flavor they add


A favorite of ours, copying something I had and loved in Burgundy, is to do something similar to Christine's recipe provided by Jeff, but with a bit of cream too. The resulting texture is mousse-like, and that's exactly what I call it when I do it. Absolutely terrific with poached salmon or, as we had it in Morey St. Denis, with warm smoked trout.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26199
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: How to Take a Leek

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:20 pm

Is there anything that can be done with the fibrous, dark green part of the leek?

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field" - Niels Bohr
User avatar
Mike Filigenzi
Known for his fashionable hair
 
Posts: 6931
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: How to Take a Leek

Postby Christina Georgina » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:21 pm

Mike, I make vegetable stock when I have a lot of leek tops.
Mamma Mia !
Christina Georgina
Wine guru
 
Posts: 1006
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 4:37 pm

Re: How to Take a Leek

Postby Jenise » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:39 pm

Bought baby leeks yesterday! I don't believe I've ever seen them before. Might just grill them.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26199
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest


Return to The Forum Kitchen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests