I think leeks are a very underutilized vegetable. I didn’t even know what they were until a couple of years ago when I saw Rachael Ray using them on her show. The first time I saw them, I thought what are those giant green onion looking things? Well, that’s kind of what they are. They belong to the same vegetable family as onion and garlic, and they have a very mild oniony taste. Their scientific name is Allium ampeloprasum, and have you ever seen allium flowers? They are beautiful!
Because leeks grow under the dirt, dirt gets in between the layers so you have to be careful about cleaning them. Instead of washing them and then cutting, you cut them first and then rinse them in a bowl of cool water. You can use the white and the light green part. The dark green part gets pretty tough, so that’s where I usually stop.
When you’re ready to add the leeks to whatever you’re cooking (such as the delicious butternut squash soup recipe I’ll be posting) just take them out of the water and dry them on a clean kitchen towel.