With their sweet and mellow taste, leeks make a great addition to many meals. A member of the onion family, they are more mild than a standard onion. I personally love to add them to soups and pasta dishes when I don’t want such a potent onion flavor.
The downside to leeks? As they grow, dirt and grit gets stuck in between all their layers, so you really need to clean them well before use.
Here’s my go-to method for making sure they are nice and clean every time.
First, give the whole leeks a quick rinse to remove any visible dirt on the outside.
Cut off the tough, bitter dark green ends and discard them (making sure to leave the pale green part of the leeks). You can save those dark green ends for use in homemade stock if you like, or just throw them out.
Next, cut off the roots of the leeks and discard those as well.
Slice the leeks in half lengthwise.
Then slice each half crosswise into the size you want the leeks for cooking (this will depend on a specific recipe, but I tend to cut them between ¼ to ½ inch in size).
Add the sliced leeks to a bowl filled with cold water. Use your hands to swish them around and separate all the layers. This process loosens all that dirt and grit, most of which will sink to the bottom of the bowl.
Use a slotted spoon, skimmer or even just your hands to remove the leeks from the bowl. The grit will be left behind in the water.
If your leeks are especially dirty, you can repeat this process again. Just discard the dirty water, refresh with clean, cold water and then repeat.
Pat the leeks dry and then use them however you would like!