Difficulty level: Easy
Leeks are a wonderful vegetable, but they require a fair amount of preparation before they can be used. Here are some tips on washing and preparing leeks.
- Cut off the fibrous root
- If the dark-green outer leaves are very tough and/or spotty, remove and discard them.
- Trim the ends of the remaining leaves.
- Cut the green part* of leek in half length-wise and separate into leaves.
- Place in a bowl of warm water and swirl around to help the dirt fall to the bottom.
- Take the leeks out of the bowl, place in a colander, and rinse. (Don’t just pour them into the colander as the dirt at the bottom of the bowl might get trapped in the leaves again.)
- Dry each piece with a clean kitchen towel, then chop or slice the leeks according to your recipe.
* Usually the white part is tight enough that no dirt manages to get in. If that’s not the case – if the leaves are loose and there’s dirt inside, split this part as well and proceed step 4. Otherwise go to step 7.
Cooking with Leeks
Many recipes call for just the "white parts" of leeks, when in fact the light green is just as good and even the dark green is usable if it will be sautéed for at least 5 minutes or so. I nearly always use all three parts in my recipes.