Leaking leek knowledge

Posted on 2 min read

If you are a botanist, then you definitely know that leek and garlic are both from the Allium genus (together with onion, chive, shallot, and other pungent guys). However, if you happen to be a linguist, you might know that the name ‘leek’ developed from the Old English word ‘leac’ together with the modern English word ‘garlic’ which could be called ‘garleac’ instead. We don’t know what you should do with that information. Maybe got to show off during a friendly vegetable party.

Speaking of which, imagine that you could throw it revolting around a single ingredient – leeks. Not eating leeks only, of course, rather making them the centrepiece of the dinner. Let’s start with an entree. Or an hors d’oeuvre if you please. Trim off the green parts of the leek, chop up the whites, wash them, pat’em dry and fry’em in a saucepan with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and cold hard-boiled eggs. Voila: delicate and delicious appetiser is ready.

Now let’s move on to the soup. Here you have two variants: cock-a-leekie or vichyssoise, the first being a type of Scottish national soup and the second – a classic French dish. Actually, cock-a-leekie, as can be guessed from the name, is simply a chicken stock with leeks. Sometimes potatoes or rice, sometimes prunes are also added. Vichyssoise, on the other hand, is nothing more than a chicken stock with leeks too! To which potatoes and cream are added. The main difference is in serving temperature: cock-a-leekie is supposed to be eaten hot, while vichyssoise is usually served cold. Well, and pureed!

Is your party supposed to be thrown outside? Grill some leeks until browned and very tender! And toss them with a basic vinaigrette made with olive oil, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Simplicity is the key to good cooking.

More hot dishes to come! Welsh rabbit, despite its name, has nothing to do with animals, in general, and rabbits, in particular. Basically, it’s a grilled cheese sandwich. But the ‘leek version’ is really a thing! Start by chopping the white parts as usual and sweat them in butter over medium-low heat until tender. Add a tablespoon of flour, mix it all up, add a cup of beer and shredded cheese to that. Whisk everything until completely melted and transfer to a piece of toast that is destined to go under the broiler. You won’t have words to describe your pleasure.

We wanted to find a good recipe for a dessert featuring leeks, but then we found something far more interesting – black rum with leeks. Just mix one shot of alcohol of your choice with a pinch of allspice, a little honey, a bit of balsamic vinegar. Stir, strain over ice and garnish with honey-roasted leeks. That’ll do.

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