Leeks may look (and taste) lovely, but all it takes is one bite of tragically sandy potato leek soup to realize that there's a surprising amount of gritty soil lurking between their many layers. Over the years we've tried a few methods to deal with this unglamorous task — some more successful than others — and have since then settled on a quick and dirty method that'll help you speed through meal prep. Keep reading for our step-by-step tutorial.
We hate to say it, but mom was right . . . It's time to start loving leeks. In season until the end of May, this green veggie is a diet dream. Not only is it low in calories (about 50 calories per cup) and packed with fiber, it's a good source of vitamin A and C. With a similar taste and texture to onions, leeks are a great addition to dishes like quiche, hash, or soup. Pick from one of these six healthy recipes and start preparing dinner with these steps — you only have until the end of May to do so!
Francophile alert: if Julia Child, the grand dame of French cookery, were still alive, then she would be celebrating her centennial birthday in just one short week (on Aug. 15). Naturally, it only seems fitting to crack the spine on her seminal masterpiece, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and get cooking, in honor of the auspicious date.
Not too surprisingly, flipping through the pages of pithy prose and detailed instructions provided ample inspiration — one could easily spend a year devoted to cooking from the hefty tome — but my penchant for anything and everything soup eventually led me to settle on her classic recipe for potage parmentier (otherwise known as potato leek soup).
Everyone loves caramelized onion dip, but this holiday season, change it up by using a brother to the onion, the leek! Leeks are more mild in flavor, but once mixed with a crunchy bacon and tangy goat cheese, they make a delicious dip. The best part of this dip: it can prepared one day in advance, so you don't have to fret over it the day of your dinner party. Just be sure to set it out an hour or two before to bring it up to room temperature before serving. I served it with thinly sliced french baguette and tortilla chips for a little more crunch, but a crudité platter would also be a wonderful accompaniment. Top it with a smidgen of chives to add a little more color and even more flavor to the dip. Keep reading for this simple and scrumptious recipe.
Along with Spring onions, leeks have been all over the farmers markets. Although they're in season year-round here in California, lately they've been too fresh-looking to pass up. Like scallions, these alliums are long stems of bundled leaf sheaths, but they have a much milder, mellower flavor, making them a favorite even amongst the onion-averse. For more ideas about choosing, caring for, and consuming them, keep on reading.
I have always had a special place in my heart for hash, but let's be honest: it is far from healthy! Since I always try to eat healthy most of the time, I was excited to see a hash packed full of veggies. A combination of leeks, chard, and fingerling potatoes with fried eggs not only would make a great weekend breakfast but also a great weeknight dinner since it is fast and easy. The next time I make this I will use two bunches of chard since it cooks down so much, I felt there was not quite enough chard for four servings. Also, I would cook the eggs just a little less since I found both of them to be a touch overcooked and not as runny as I would have liked!
Earlier this week, I shared menu suggestions for a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Now, I've got one more idea for you: this wildly delicious mushroom and leek tart! It's a beautiful dish that's absolutely scrumptious. The crust is a quick homemade salt and pepper dough, while the filling is a savory mixture of sautéed mushrooms, leeks, thyme, and gruyère cheese. The ingredient list calls for chanterelles, but they were quite expensive at my local market, so I opted for regular button mushrooms. I served this tart to mushroom haters, and they loved it! To make it for Thanksgiving or any other Fall celebration, get the recipe here.
The season's cooling off, and it's the end of another chaotic week; slow down and take the time to nourish yourself with an uncomplicated potage parmentier. After all, even the legendary Julia Child held an appreciation for this humble yet warming soup.
Begin with little more than a few loose ends from the larder: chopped leeks and clean potatoes. Simmer the broth until tender, break potatoes apart into rustic pieces, and serve seasoned with just a splash of heavy cream, salt and white pepper, and fine herbs.
To add a little more protein to the dish, crumble a little cooked, crispy bacon, prosciutto, or pancetta on top. The result? A soul-satisfying soup that's not overly heavy. For the recipe, keep on reading.
If you weren't satisfied with these meat-free meal ideas, I've got one more recipe suggestion for you: asparagus and mushroom lasagna. I made this amazing dish for a dinner party in honor of a friend who is a longtime vegetarian. Everyone, even the die-hard meat eaters in attendance, loved it!
Although the ingredients are basic, this lasagna is wonderfully delicious. For maximum flavor, use a good quality vegetable stock and fresh mushrooms, and be sure to generously season the white sauce. It's rich without being heavy; with the seasonal components, it makes a great centerpiece to a Spring meal.
I snapped a few pictures at the dinner and hoped to get a stunning photo the following day when the lighting was better. However, the lasagna was so good that people went back for seconds, and there was none left! Seriously, you should really give this recipe a try.