Leeks Two Ways

The French love leeks.  What is primarily a soup ingredient here in the U.S., is a staple in different regions of France.  A relative of the onion family, it can be served hot or cold.  I always leave a little bit of the green of the leek but not too much as it is only the white that is really tender, even after it has been boiled.  Leeks should be butterfly cut in order to be able to clean the sand out of each layer before cooking.  Here are the recipes for both hot and cold options.  Yields 2 servings as a hearty side dish.

Leeks in White Sauce

2 leeks, majority of green removed, butterflied and thickly sliced

5 cups water

salt and pepper

3 Tbs of butter

1.5 cups whole milk

3 Tbs flour

1 tsp nutmeg

Boil leeks in water with a pinch of salt for 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain in a colander.    In a saute pan, melt butter.  When completely liquid, stir in flour and vigorously whisk until a golden colored rue is formed.  Turn down the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking the entire time.  The milk should begin to thicken and turn into a sauce.  add cooked leeks to the sauce and add say, pepper and nutmeg to taste.  Serve immediately.


Leeks in Dijon Vinaigrette

2 leeks, greens removed, butterflied and sliced thinly lengthwise

5 cups water

6 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs balsamic or your favorite vinegar

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Boil leeks in water until tender, roughly 10 minutes.  The long, thin strips should be the consistency of Japanese seaweed salad.  Drain in a colander.  Run cold water over the leeks in the colander for 3 to 4 minutes.  This helps to stop the cooking process and keep the leeks bright green.

In a salad bowl, Combine olive oil, salt and pepper.  With the back of a large spoon, crush the salt into the oil.  Add vinegar and mustard to the oil and mix until well combined.  Give the leeks a good shake to remove any additional water and then pour into the salad bowl.  Toss the leeks with the sauce until well combined.  Chill for up to 1 hour before serving.