Leek Recipes from France
You will find many leek recipes in France, including of course the famous potato leek soup recipe, Vichyssoise. This descendent of the garlic plant is sometimes known in France as poor man's asparagus.
Notice how the bottom of a leek is white? That's because as it grows, the cultivator mounds dirt around its base, preventing sun from getting on it and turning the leaves green. This is similar to the technique used with fennel plants.
Leeks are available year round in France. In springtime, we can sometimes find small, new leeks, known as poireaux de printemps, or poireaux primeurs. In France, you will often see vegetables with the notation primeur. These are vegetables that are harvested before full maturity and can include carrots, onions, radishes, asparagus, shallots, and leeks. Although sometimes criticized for not containing the full nutritional potential and flavor of a mature vegetable, they are reputed to be extra tender and easy to digest.
Selecting and Storing Leeks
- Look for leeks that are smooth with crisp green tops
- Leeks will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about five days. You can freeze leeks by cleaning, slicing, and blanching them for several minutes in boiling water. Rinse them with cold water, drain, prefreeze on a tray for about 30 minutes, then put in freezer bags in handy amounts.
- To clean a leek, you cut off the root base and most of the tougher green top. Then you need to rinse it well under running water, spreading apart the leaves at the top. There's usually some dirt trapped in there. Or you can slice the leeks (as in the recipe below) and then rinse with water.
- Here's an easy vegetable recipe: simply steam sliced leeks for about 5 minutes and serve them warm topped with a vinaigrette.
- Au Gratin: You could try stemming them whole, then wrapping them in a piece of ham, covering them with a bechamel sauce and cheese and then baking until golden and bubbly.
- Vichyssoise, the classic French potato leek soup recipe. You might like to try it served either hot or cold as a first course.
- You will find these vegetables featured in the famous Picardy leek recipe, known as Flamiche.
And here's an unusual and yummy leek tart recipe inspired by the flavors of Provencal cooking.
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