Leek

Allium Ampeloprasum, Porrum Group

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See also: RAMP

Giant bunches of leeks burst from net bags and grocery baskets, part of the regular shopping list in much of Europe and the Middle East. American cooks without ties to those areas are likely to slice a few tired leeks into winter soups—and that’s about it for this neglected vegetable. We have relegated this ancient, noble allium to the role of a mere seasoning; elsewhere, it plays leading roles—for good reasons: It is big, handsome, and versatile, and it cooks to a silky mellowness that makes it one of the most subtle of the onion group.