Sunday, October 21, 2007
The Leek, called "the asparagus of the poor" in France, is a vegetable native to the Middle East and related to onions, garlic, shallots and scallion. It is in season from fall to spring, and knows two verities: Summer leeks, which are smaller and subtle in flavor, and winter leeks, which are generally strongly flavored. The Leek is the national emblem of Wales.
- How to choose: The stalk should be firm to the touch. The bulb should have a shiny white color and bright green leaves with no bruises, cracks or wilted leaves. They should be about one, one-half inches in diameter. Try to purchase leeks that are of similar size to ensure more even cooking.
- How to eat: the edible part of the leeks is the white base and the light green stalks. Leeks have to be clean properly because the center is usually full of sand. Trim off the greener part of the leaves. Keep it for clarifying consommé. Remove the roots. Remove the dried and yellowish skin around the leek, if any. Holding the leek, leafy side down, insert your knife through the white part approximately 2 inches down from the root, and cut through the entire length of the leek. Repeat two or three times to split the leek open. Wash thoroughly under cold water.
- How to store: It can be stored, whole in the crisper of your refrigerator for 10 days. Cleaned and sliced, it can stay in the fridge, in pierced plastic bags for 5 days. Cooked, it can stay in the fridge, in a hermetic container for 2 days.
- How to cook: Leeks can be used in salads, soups (the most popular leek soup is Vichyssoise), quiches and tarts, terrines, served with meat, fish and shellfish. You can boil it, steam it, bake it, roast it and sauté it. Or you can simply eat it raw.
- Health Benefits: leek is low in calories and is a great source of fiber and potassium. It may help lower your cholesterol and the greener part is full of vitamin C.
My favorite way of eating Leeks is by cooking it in water and serving it with a mustard and apple cider vinaigrette and sprinkled with toasted walnuts. This weekend I made this simple and quick Leek dish that has been sautéed in Olive oil and served with fresh thyme leaves, a dash of spanish smoked paprika and a drizzle of lemon juice. The perfect Sunday, or any day supper.
Happy Sunday everyone!
Warm Leek Salad:
- 4 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced
- ½ Lemon
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- A dash of Spanish Smoked paprika
- Salt, pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Heat your pan. Add the olive oil, then the leeks. Toss quickly to coat the leeks with the oil. Let it cook, uncovered on medium heat while stirring regularly for about 8 min. Season with salt and pepper. The leeks should be tender but still has a bite to them. Add half the thyme, toss quickly and plate. Drizzle a little bit of lemon juice on top; you don’t want to add too much or it will be too sour, sprinkle with a dash of paprika and the rest of thyme. Let it cool a bit and serve it warm.
Salade Tiède de Poireaux
In francais please:
- 4 poireaux moyens, nettoyés et coupes en rondelles
- ½ citron
- 1 c.s de feuilles de thym
- Une pincée de paprika espagnole
- Sel, poivre
- 1 c.s d’huile d’olive
Faites chauffer votre poele sur feu moyen. Ajouter l’huile puis les poireaux et faites sauté rapidement pour bien les couvrir de l’huile. Laisser cuire decouvert en mélangeant de temps en temps pendant au 8 min. Assaisonner de sel et de poivre. Les poireaux doivent etre tender a l’interieur mais avec un peu de croquant a l’exterieur. Ajouter la moitié des feuilles de thym, mélanger rapidement et enlever du feu. Servir avec un filet de jus de citron, éviter de trop en mettre sinon vous aurez des poireaux aigres, d’une pincée de paprika et le reste du thym. Laisser refroidir un peu et servir tiède.