While some West-Coasters may have reason to doubt it (record heat waves being what they are), the season has shifted. Whether you are watching the leaves turn, contemplating the Holiday Season, or preparing to treat the inevitable cold & flu stricken in your household, Fall is officially upon us. With summer and its many delights receding from view, let’s take a moment to look at one of Fall’s seasonal gifts: the lovely leek.
These tall green & white vegetables belong to the allium family, making them relatives of garlic and onions; as you might recall, allium’s come loaded with nutritional benefits as well as flavor, giving you a host of reasons to add them to your recipes. With a milder (and oftentimes sweeter) taste than many of their cousins, even those for whom onions hold no appeal can be won over and reap the rewards.
A few notes on preparation: Clean your leaks thoroughly. Their tightly bound leaves trap dirt and grit, which can be an unpleasant addition to an otherwise lovely meal. The darker green portions of the plant are where the most phytonutrients will be found, so avoid over-trimming the dark green tips. Cooking them within a few days of purchase will guarantee the most bang for your buck, as leeks begin to lose their antioxidant properties after this time. (While their relatives may be hardier, give fresh leeks a try and I think you will see that their delicacy is also delicious, and worth the quick response!)
I enjoy sautéed leeks, poached leeks, grilled leeks, leek soups; on their own, as a side, and even as a cleanse (you may also be familiar with Mireille Guiliano’s Magical Leek Soup recipe from her book French Women Don’t Get Fat). For more recipe options, check out Martha Stewart’s seasonal leek recipe roundup here, or head over to HuffPost Taste’s collection here. I hope you enjoy experimenting with these and other recipes, and please share- how do you like your leeks?