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In season late autumn: Leeks

Buying

Choose leeks with medium-sized stems. Look for fresh green tops and white fleshy stems.

Storing

Leeks should be kept in the fridge, in a plastic bag or vegetable compartment.

Nutrition

Leeks contain carotenoids (especially at the green end), which are good for eye health.

Using

Trim both ends leaving a good few centimetres of the green stem as well as the white. Remove any damaged outer layers then cut a slit down the length of the stem and rinse well in cold water to remove any dirt.

Leeks are extremely versatile. They taste great prepared as a side dish or can be used instead of onions in many recipes such as risotto and casseroles.

Try

Sauté: Slice leeks in 1cm rings. Fry in a dash of heated oil and season. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg or toasted sliced almonds for extra flavour.

Purée: Sauté sliced leeks then simmer in salt-reduced chicken stock with thyme and 1 diced potato. When potato is cooked, blend until smooth and serve under baked fish or salmon.

Bake: Slice leeks in rings and soften in simmering water. Drain, add trim milk, thicken with a little flour and season. Place in a baking dish, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and grill.

Pies and soups: Try hearty favourite leek and potato soup or a tasty chicken, leek and corn filo pie.

Crispy strips: Cut leek lengthways in fine strips and scatter on a lightly oiled baking tray. Bake until light brown and crispy. Use as a garnish or in salads.

Did you know? Leeks have been the national emblem of Wales since 640AD.

First published: May 2012



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