But cooked? What a difference! Steamed leeks are sweet and buttery and entirely delicious, with great leek flavor but not onion-y at all.
LEEKY HUMOR True story. From my dear Auntie Karen, who's inspired and encouraged and occasionally butt-kicked me since I was seven and happily, my Uncle Ed married her into the family. (Imagine a seven-year old's swoon at the romance of a young, hip and oh-so-cool new aunt sweeping the floors of a Michigan town hall in a wedding dress.) I digress. She shared this in April: "A short note about my own veggie adventure. I wasn't that familiar with leeks, so decided to give them a try. I went to my grocery, found leeks. One bunch was small and one bunch was large, and both were the same price. So, if I'm paying 2.00 per package I'm going to get the best. The veggie guy wasn't around, so I went to the deli (figured they worked with food and would know everything about leeks). I held up the two packages and asked her if she knew something about leeks? She smiled, and replied no but my husband is a plumber! Talk about a veggie adventure! Only Auntie K could run into this."
HOW TO CLEAN LEEKS Leeks collect grit while growing so need careful cleaning. First, cut off the root end, then peel one or two layers of tough outer leaves. (Washed well, these outer leaves can be saved for leek stock, which is quite delicious, or saved in the freezer in a collection bag with other vegetable trimmings for adding to stock later.) Then slice off the leaves just at the point where they turn dark. (This is what recipes mean when call for "leeks, white and light-green parts only".) Now halve the leek lengthwise, then gently separate the whorls, still keeping them together with your fingers, however, and wash well under running water. Slice as needed. NEW TIP Now take a look at the big section of dark leaves you set aside. If you peel back a layer or two of the dark leaves in this section, you'll find still more white and light-green parts for steaming or cooking.
- The only 'hard' thing about this recipe is figuring out how to steam a vegetable that needs to lie flat. I placed a collapsible metal steamer inside a covered skillet - spread flat, it worked like a charm!
- The leeks are delicious but the sauce only good, not special. Plus the balsamic vinegar makes the color 'off'; next time I'll use a white wine vinegar or even a white balsamic vinegar. I'd also be tempted to drizzle with just a simple vinaigrette, like my favorite salad dressing.
- Even after steaming, some of the outer leaves were more chewy than really edible. These were easy enough to leave on the plate but for company, I might try "big" leeks but steam only a one- to two-inch core.
This is my first (finally!) entry into the Monthly Mingle at What's for Lunch Honey, a blog written by 'world-citizen' Meeta who lives in Germany. (Perhaps my only disappointment in blogging is that Meeta traveled to St. Louis last year and we didn't get to meet! Another year, let's hope!) This month, Meeta has challenged us to cook something 'springy'. Steamed leeks are definitely springy!
FROM THE ARCHIVES The Recipe Box has plenty of leek recipes.
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STEAMED LEEKS with CHOPPED EGGS
Time to table: 20 minutes
2 leeks, trimmed and cleaned (see above for How to Clean Leeks)
Bring water to a boil in a steaming vessel large enough to hold leeks flat. Place leeks in steamer, cover and steam for about 10 minutes. With tongs, lift from steamer and arrange on platter.
SAUCE (enough for perhaps 8 leeks)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine or white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon good mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I used low-fat Hellmann's)
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons capers
1 hard-cooked egg, mashed with a fork (how to boil eggs)
While leeks steam, whisk the dressing ingredients. (If you stop here, you could put the dressing in a squeeze bottle to drizzle across the leeks. You could also mix in the capers and egg.) Drizzle dressing across leeks, then sprinkle with capers and chopped egg.