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Rethinking Leeks: Advice and Recipes

If you're feeling a bit bored with February veg, I encourage you to choose one vegetable and explore its possibilities. This week at the cookery school we're focusing on the humble leek, so often tossed into dishes for flavouring, so rarely celebrated in its own right. It is surprisingly satisfying to get back to basics and really appreciate the taste of veg we sometimes take for granted.

Leeks are the mildest of the allium family and have been eaten in Southern Europe since prehistoric times. They are in season from September to April and are a versatile winter crop as they over winter in the ground. They're delicious as baby veg and while maturing, but the really monster specimens are usually woody and flavourless. Buy leeks which have healthy looking green tops. These need to be cut off and can be saved for stocks. The easiest way to clean leeks is to cut them into rings and stand in a bowl or sink of cold water. Allow the mud to settle then scoop out the leeks into a colander. Repeat until the leeks are clean.

Leeks have been called “poor man’s asparagus” and can be eaten with many of the simple ingredients that asparagus also complement: cheeses, olive oil, eggs and garlic. They are lovely roasted or stir fried and are delicious additions to tarts, soups and side dishes. We've chosen some of our favourite leek recipes to showcase the range of leek possibilities.

Leeks

Leek-tastic

From breakfast omelettes to party-time appetizers, these are recipes where the leek gets its chance to shine.

Leek Bhajis

Soups

Not just potato and leek. (Though we love that too.) Leeks are almost always welcome in a stock pot, but they have some other interesting tricks up their stalks too...

Leek, yogurt and mint soup by Monica

Let us know if you have any leek-tastic recipes!

Or share any leek-related inspiration (artwork? poems?) in the comments below

or, as always, on Twitter or Facebook.

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