Leeks are in the family of alliums, which includes onions and garlic.  They are amazingly sweet and mild! They can be used along with onion in a recipe or in place of onion.  Our family has become fond of using leeks in just about any savory recipe and especially sautéed in some olive oil for a few minutes before scrambling up some fresh eggs with them.  That is a fabulous breakfast treat!  The one catch with leeks is that they can be difficult to get clean.  I slice them in half vertically and run each half under running water while fanning the layers of leek and scrubbing where I see any dirt.  I think you will find that this vegetable is worth the extra work!

Caramelized Leek Salad From Farmer John’s Cookbook

*1/2 cup walnut halves
*1 tbsp unsalted butter
*5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
*2 large leeks, white and green parts only, sliced (about 3 cups)
*4 cups mixed salad greens
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 pears, cored, sliced (you may want to sprinkle with lemon juice to keep from turning brown)
4 ounces cheese, crumbled or thinly sliced (chevre, fresh pecorino, Parmesan, fontina, or smoked gouda work well)

Toast the walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant.  (Be careful not to over toast them, as they will burn very quickly once toasted.)  Immediately transfer the nuts to a dish to cool.  Chop the nuts.  Heat the butter and 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until they are a deep golden color, about 45 minutes.  Drain and cool.  In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the salt and pepper to taste.  Add the balsamic vinegar and toss; add the remaining olive oil and toss again.  Divide the greens among four plates; sprinkle with the caramelized leeks and toasted walnuts.  Arrange the pear slices on the leeks.  Sprinkle with cheese.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Potato Leek Soup~   Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium leeks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • Approximately 3 small potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 quart vegetable broth or chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Directions~

1. Chop the leeks into small pieces.

2. In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and saute for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the potatoes and the broth or stock, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.