Related to both garlic and onion though milder and more subtle in their flavor and fragrance, Leeks have thick white cylindrical stalks with slightly bulbous roots. The broad, flat, dark green leaves wrap tightly around each other like a rolled newspaper.
Leeks have an almost-sweetish onion essence. Paired with butter, they are delicious. Leeks, however, will impart a sweet touch to any recipe. They form the basic ingredient in most Chinese recipes including almost all soups and fried rice variations.
My grandmother, my mom and myself have been using leeks on a regular basis for as long as I can remember.
Leeks should be firm and straight with dark green leaves and white necks. The bulbous root should not have any cracks in it and should be bright white or greenish-white. Avoid overly large leeks as they tend to be kind of over grown i.e. not tender so only purchase those that have a diameter of under two inches.
Leeks contain oxalates. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating leeks.
The long list of nutrients present in leeks include Carbohydrates, Sugars, Dietary fiber, Fats, Protein, Water, Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, C, E, K, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc.
Here is my favorite Leeks and Asparagus recipe.
LEEKS and ASPARAGUS
Preparation time: 20 minutes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large leek or 2 small leeks
- 1 pound asparagus, thin or thick spears, woody ends removed, and if thick, stripes of skin removed with a vegetable peeler
- Melt butter in a skillet over MEDIUM HIGH.
- Reduce heat to MEDIUM, add leeks and stir well to coat.
- Sauté the leeks lightly until they become soft (usually takes about 3 minutes).
- Cut the Asparagus into one-inch lengths and add to skillet, turning well.
- Cover the skillet. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is cooked through but still bright green, about 5 minutes for thin spears, about 15 minutes for thick.
- Season your dish with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
|Amount Per Serving – 1/2 cup