Luscious Leeks Should Be in Your Diet


Basket of Fresh Leeks

Leeks are one of the unsung heroes of the culinary world.  Milder than onions or garlic, their savory flavor can easily stand alone, or complement other foods in similar ways to their stronger cousins.  Ancient in origin, they are believed to have been disseminated through Europe by the Romans, who favored them over garlic and onions.  Leeks were happily adopted in the British isles, and are a part of many traditional dishes there. 

Leeks are easy to prepare.  They should be washed as one would green onions, and then the dark green tops should be removed where the color begins to change to lighter shades.  The dark green tops can be used to make soup stocks, but are rather tough. The root should then be removed.  The remaining leek can be sliced down its length, or sliced into the appropriate thickness of rounds for the recipe.  Unlike onions, at this point they should be placed into a colander and rinsed thoroughly, as their structure makes it easy for them to conceal dirt between their layers.  Rubbing them between one's fingers may help dislodge dirt trapped there. 

For recipes that call for whole leeks, the leek is cut very close to the root, so that it stays together there, and it is cut off leaving an inch or two further into the dark green area.  Then, with a sharp knife, it is sliced halfway through on one side so that the layers can be rinsed well.  This leaves the whole leek intact, but allows for thorough cleaning.

Leeks stand well in so many recipes that it is nearly impossible to catalog them all.  They especially shine when allowed to stand alone, simply roasted with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and drizzled with a vinaigrette or balsamic reduction, and perhaps some fresh herbs.  With their unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, this allium vegetable belong in your diet on a regular basis.

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