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

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.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I'm becoming quite addicted to smoked paprika, so I'm happy to see it in this recipe. Nice flavor combination with the leeks. And your photo is divine!

Gretchen Noelle said...

As usual, very beautiful pictures.

Gloria Baker said...

Nice recipe, but the most always you amazing me with yours lovely pictures. Gloria

Anonymous said...

basics are good, good products make good recipes :) thank you rose !

Dolores said...

What a wonderful tutorial on leeks, just in time for their arrival in the farmer's markets and CSA boxes. I've bookmarked your recipe to try... the combination of leeks and paprika intrigues me.

Anh said...

Leek is my fav veg! I just love it, especially the baby ones.

your photo is fantastic.

Nabeela said...

I only discovered leeks a while ago...and still enjoying the buttery taste of it. This salad sounds perfect for featuring leek in its finest.

Elle said...

The thyme and paprika sound like the perfect pairing for the onion-y leeks

Kelly-Jane said...

Leeks are one of my hubby's favourite vegetables, I'll have to give this one a go!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love cooking with leeks, Rose, and this salad is a wonderful suggestion!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I love cooking with leeks...gorgonzola goes really good with them, too - My favorite is a recipe for leek and gorgonzola pasta - I have it on my site. :) Never thought about a warm leek salad, though. To try!

Anonymous said...

This sounds delicious! I recently went on a leeks kick - sauted a few until they were browned, then put them in a gratin dish with some prosciutto, cream and grueyere. Delightful!

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Rose, how lovely! I just came back from the market with a big bag of leeks, and I'm looking forward to trying your recipe! Gorgeous photos!

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Rose, how lovely! I just came back from the market with a big bag of leeks, and I'm looking forward to trying your recipe! Gorgeous photos!

winedeb said...

Rose this looks wonderful! I have been wanting to try some smoked paprika and now you have inspired me to do so!

Dorian Nieto said...

Je viens de découvrir ta recette et je n'ai plus qu'une envie c'est de l'essayer très vite !

Aimée said...

Mmm, beautiful photos, Rose. I love the thought of the combination of paprika and leeks. I can almost smell them from here!

Warda said...

- Lydia, welcome to the smoked paprika addiction club! I am glad you joined in.Thank you my dear.

- Gretchen, thank you very much.

- Gloria, you are always so sweet my friend. Thanks a lot.

- Marion, sometimes, especially on weekends, nothing beats simple and quick dishes. Glad you like my version.

- Dolores, the farmer knows me by now when I go there. He instantely hands me a tall bunch of fresh leeks. I can't get enough of them. Let me know how you like it if you try it.

- Anh, I saw your leek recipe. Simply divine.

- Nabeela, you described very well. "buttery" that's how leeks feel when perfectly cooked. Thank you nabeela for your kindness.

- Elle, the thyme adds a fresh touch while the paprika...well only the word spicy gets me excited.

- Kelly-Jane, My hubby didn't have leeks before, and when I made him eat them he fell in love with them right away. They are just delicious on their own.

- Patricia, Thank you very much my dear friend.

- Sara, I'll have to try gorgonzola with leeks. You made me hungry with your fresh pasta and the creamy leek sauce!

- Claire, and your gratin dish sounds even better, minus the prosciutto for me.

- Amanda, I hope you will enjoy it. PLease let me know how it goes if you do try it.

- Deb, you should really try and then I will be happy to welcome you to the smoked paprika addiction club. Lydia and I are already members.

- Dorian, merci de ton passage. J'espere que tu vas aimer ma salade. A propos, j'aime beaucoup ton style d'ecriture, surtout ton billet sur le retour des classes, il y'a de cela quelques temps.

- Aimee, thank you very much my dear. It looks like we have a lot in common.

Lucy said...

Lovely salad Rose.

I have a couple of leeks in the fridge waiting for an outing - and a little tin, nearly empty, of smoked paprika too.

Dolores said...

Just got around to trying this recipe, and it was a hit. It will be a regular repeater as long as there are leeks in my weekly box. Thanks again for sharing.