When cooking leeks, it's not always clear how much we should use, prompting one of my kind readers to write with this question. Learn when to use the green part, and when to skip it.
First thank you for a fun, easy and wonderful cooking site. I like your layout which has - for my taste - just the right amount of "whimsies" to balance a well organized and easy to use web-site. Bravo to the Webmaster!!
As for my question for using leeks.
How much of it is traditionally used in France? Again and again, I am reading, light green parts only.
Most of the time I am disregarding this rule with good results, using lots of the dark, especially in stews and I use the green part, however not the very tough outside "stems" and the very tops.
Thanks for writing to me with your excellent question. I am delighted that you find my website whimsical - it is a quality dear to my heart.
How much of the leek is used in French cooking depends upon the leek and what it will be used for.
The French distinguish between the winter leek (poireau d'hiver) which can be up to almost two inches in diameter and include some fairly tough green leaves and the spring leek (poireau de printemps), which is slender and more tender.
All but the toughest of the green part of either can be used to make soups or to flavor a stock. The more tender white part (and potentially most of the spring leek) is used in other preparations such as tarts, terrines, gratins, salads, etc.
Most times I run right over the finer points of French cuisine - skipping over such things as removing the inner germ of a piece of garlic to make it more digestible - and will go ahead and use most of the leek, especially if it is slender and young.
I think most recipes calling for cooking leeks will work out fine as long as you don't use the really tough fibrous parts of the leek.