LEEKS, known in France as poor man’s asparagus, are generally used in America only by those who can find them. Although they are commonplace in Europe, they are not as well known here, which is a shame because this member of the onion family has a wonderful and delicate flavor.
A leek looks sort of like an enormous scallion. It has long, dark green leaves, a long white body, and white roots. A leek is usually filled with soil and needs careful washing (see “Washing Leeks”). The green leaves are rarely eaten, but are used in some stocks and soups. They are also blanched, to brighten them, and then cut and used in decorating aspic-coated presentations. Many recipes call for the use of “the white part only,” and in these cases the green parts can be discarded or saved for a soup.
Leeks are used as ingredients in stocks and soups, but they are also excellent on their own.