As a mother of four, I can tell you that I know a thing or two about leaks. I know about leaky diapers, leaky bladders, and leaky plumbing in my house. I even know about leaky roofs. However, I did not know about leeks. Now I can say that I know about steamed leeks, too.
I was the lucky recipient of some leeks after Brother Number One took a trip to the Farmer’s Market a couple of weekends ago. He offered me some leeks and being curious, I took them. When I told Daughter Number One about them, she said the only thing she knew about leeks she learned from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Two. Apparently there is a scene where someone announces “There’s a leek in the boat”. It was much funnier after I explained to her what a leek is.
I sat down and learned as much about leeks as I could from the piece of paper that my brother had picked up from the vendor and some online research. The first thing I learned is that leeks are dirty and need to be thoroughly washed. I learned that the darker parts are not to be eaten, but can be used to make stock. Also, I learned that there is a specific way to cut them to clean and cook. Armed with that information I set out to use my leeks.
The first thing I did with some of the leeks was to use them on homemade pizza. The Hubs wanted to grill some, but not all of the pizzas I made for Father’s Day dinner. I’m so glad he did, because the first one we made was cream cheese, hamburger and leek. He got the first slice. He was thrilled to announce that it tasted like a Burger King Whopper. I had to try a bite myself. Sure enough the pizza did taste like a Whopper. I had it my way! The leeks were featured on a number of other flavor combinations that evening, including a cream cheese, crab, and leek pizza. Wowza. That was another winner. I baked that one in the oven because I wasn’t sure I would like the grilled taste on the crab.
The next night I made meatloaf for dinner with baked potatoes. Isn’t that the standard? I wanted to use the leeks in a way in which they were the centerpiece of a dish. I found a Steamed Leeks with Vinaigrette recipe that sounded good to me. I whipped up the recipe, plated the dinner, and waited for reactions to the leek dish. Daughter Number Four said she just loved it! She finished her entire serving. Daughters Two and Three opted out. Flat. The Hubs asked how he should cut and eat his, so I showed him by example. He cut a little bite and put it in his mouth expectantly. The look on his face was not nearly as happy as the one I had seen moments earlier on D4’s. “This is an onion!” he exclaimed with his mouth still full of half chewed leek. I tried to explain that it was in the onion family, but not an onion. He removed the rest of the leek from his mouth. Apparently he was expecting a fresher, brighter flavor and certainly not expecting it to taste like an onion. He got an even bigger surprise when he discovered that the capers I had used in the vinaigrette were not (as he believed) shriveled up peas. The girls and I laughed and laughed as he drank water and mumbled something about peas and onions. He finished the meatloaf and potato and slid the rest of his leeks onto D4’s plate.
I loved the Steamed Leeks in vinaigrette and definitely plan on making them again. This time The Hubs will know what it is, so he won’t be surprised (or put any on his plate).
Again, I thought this was a great leek dish and will definitely make it again.
If you have not tried leeks before you might want to start with something not quite as ‘leeky’! Use them in a soup, in a casserole or other dish, or on a pizza or tart.
Here’s to getting leeky.
Steamed Leeks with Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons capers (drained)
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 Leeks (white and light green part only, washed and trimmed)
Bring 2 quarts water to boil over medium-high heat in stock pot or large pan with a steamer basket insert.
In a small bowl, mix together vinegar, salt, mustard, and oil with a small whisk or fork until combined well. Gently stir in capers. Set aside.
When water is at a rolling boil add leeks to steamer pan and steam for about 10 minutes until tender. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and lay on a platter or serving plate and cover with vinaigrette while hot.
Leek Preparation Information:
Wash under water to remove visible dirt. Cut off the roots of the leeks. Slice leeks lengthwise. The white and light green parts are the mildest, the darker green parts are stronger and slightly bitter. The darker parts are best used in making stock. Make crosswise cuts along the leek that you intend to use. Place the chopped leeks in a bowl filled with cold water. Using your hands, agitate the leeks to dislodge dirt or sand. Use a slotted spoon to remove the leeks. Discard the water and repeat until the leeks are clean.