For some veggies, like a hearty bunch of broccoli, we can wash it by placing it in a colander in the sink with cool running water while we’re doing the rest of our mise en place. For others, like wild arugula, it’s two or three rinses and spins in the salad spinner.
Enter the leek, and you’ve got to be just a little bit more particular.
Because they grow in sandy terrain, it’s almost always the case that you’ll find grains of dirt and sand within the layers of the leek once you cut them open.
Don’t make the mistake of washing them too quickly or simply removing the very outer layers instead of a proper clean, or you’ll likely end up with a mouthful of dirt, and that, unfortunately, is not a culinary mishap that is easily remedied! (I suppose one might argue that a little bit of dirt won’t harm you, but I’d prefer to pass, personally, and even more so if I’m serving a dish to others!).
Simply cut the bottom bulb off, then split the whole thing in half lengthwise and then, stand upright in a tall glass container (a vase actually works well) and let them rest in cool water, then drain, and repeat a few times. Then, take the time to inspect them with an eagle’s eye, and you can then rest assured that neither you nor any of your guests will end up with an unexpected and unpleasant texture.
One easy way to prepare them is to slice them, along with some carrots, into even pieces about 3 – 4″ long, toss with olive oil and bake at a low temp, stirring occasionally, for about thirty minutes. The natural sweetness of the leeks pairs in the most lovely way with a roast chicken, as one suggested serving idea!