Leeks are a wonderful and versatile allium vegetable with a sweet, delicate, mild onion flavor. They are a savory addition to many recipes, adding a wonderful depth of flavor! Here are some of the best ways to prepare leeks to enjoy them as a wonderful side dish!
Trim off the stringy root end of the leek, and the dark green top (starting where the light greens turns to dark green). The top is generally too tough to enjoy; reserve the top for homemade stock (you can freeze it).
Cut the white and light green part of the leek in half lengthwise and lay the flat side down on the cutting board. Cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch half slices. Clean properly by placing cut pieces in a bowl of water and swoosh them around to remove any dirt and sand. Drain and rinse.
Alternatively, run water through the layers of the leek once you've cut it in half lengthwise, then continue cutting the leek as the recipe calls for.
To Saute: heat olive oil or butter in a skillet, then add the sliced leeks (light and white parts) with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and continue cooking until tender, about 4-5 minutes.
To Roast: similar to roasting root vegetables, cut them into larger 2-inch chunk pieces, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast for about 20-25 minutes at 450F until tender, or keep cut in half lengthwise and roast for the full 40 minutes with the rest of the veggies.
To Grill: keep the leek intact after cutting in half lengthwise, and dry well after cleaning. Brush with olive oil and place on cleaned grill grates, cooking until grill marks appear and they are tender; usually about 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat. Serve as a veggie side.