Learn how to cut leeks with this quick 1-minute video tutorial! Plus, I’ve included lots of tips below for how to select, store and cook with fresh leeks.
Hey guys! I’m back with a How-To Tuesday video tutorial that has come highly requested by many of you — how on earth to cut fresh leeks!
Like many of you, we didn’t grow up using fresh leeks in our home. So when I first started teaching myself how to cook and went to the store to pick up a batch, I found myself staring blankly in the produce section with all kinds of questions. 😂 . What are good fresh leeks supposed to look like? Are they basically just huge green onions? Which parts are you supposed to eat? What’s the best way to cook them??
Well if you’ve ever had any of these questions, today’s tutorial is for you. The good news is that fresh leeks are actually incredibly easy to work with, and incredibly delicious. They have a mild onion flavor going on that’s also uniquely herbaceous, slightly sweet, and wonderfully savory. And they pair well with almost any herb, and have this magical ability to bring extra depth and flavor to any dish. I’m a huge fan of them. And interestingly, now that we’re living in Spain, leeks are absolutely everywhere here (like, literally, they’re sold in convenience stores), which is so fun! Plus, fresh leeks cost a small fraction in Europe as what they’re sold for in the US. So I’ve been cooking with them more than ever here…which probably means they’ll start showing up in more of my blog recipes more than ever…so hence, today’s tutorial is all kinds of timely.
Alright, let’s get to it and talk about how to select, store, cook, and — yes — how to cut leeks!
HOW TO CUT LEEKS | 1-MINUTE VIDEO
Check out this quick video to see my favorite method for cutting fresh leeks.
How To Select Leeks:
In general, you want to look for fresh leeks at the market that:
have as much white and light green as possible (the leek in the cover photo isn’t a great example 😂)
are not yellowed (aim for either white or green hues)
are crisp and firm and fresh (not withered or mushy or very blemished)
are in season (peak season runs from October through May, although different regions may vary slightly)
How To Store Leeks:
Fresh leeks should be stored in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator in a plastic bag. Pop them in there as soon as you bring them home from the market, and be sure that they’re nice and dry before storing. Depending on their level of freshness upon purchase, fresh leeks should last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. (Just give them a good look-over before using.)
The first step in cooking with fresh leeks is always, always, always to wash them before using. Leeks are grown in the soil, which almost always sneaks in between all of those delicious layers. So as noted in the video above, be sure to always give them a good rinse before using them.
Once the leeks are cleaned and ready to go, trim off and discard the very end of the leeks (the roots). Then cut off the dark green leaves on top, which are generally not eaten but can be used to help flavor stock or broths, if you’d like. (The dark green parts can be frozen and saved for later too.)
Then, the pale white and light green parts will be ready to go! You can either:
Eat Them Raw: Like onions, raw leeks have a pretty strong flavor. But when they are very thinly sliced, they can be a nice garnish for soups, salads, roasted veggies, meats, fishes, or other dishes. Or you can also mix them into green salads, dips, or salad dressings.
Sauté Them: This is how I most often cook leeks — slicing then sautéing them as I would onions for various recipes. Also, if you sauté them for long enough, leeks will caramelize just like onions.
Roast Them: This is another great option that helps add big flavor. You can either roast leeks whole, halved or sliced — so simple, and so delicious!
Rinse the leek. Then pat dry, and lay it flat on a cutting board.
Use a knife to cut off and discard the root end of the leek. Then cut off the dark green leaves, which you can set aside to flavor broths or other recipes later.
Carefully make a vertical slice down the center of the remaining white/light-yellow green stalk, dividing it in two. Then place the flat side of each half down on the cutting board, and thinly slice into half moons of your desired size. Or, julienne the leek into thin strips.
Transfer the cut leeks into a large bowl of clean water. Then break them up with your fingers so that any small hidden pieces of dirt can dislodge. Rinse and drain the leeks one final time.
Use immediately, or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.