LEEKS — October 2013

By Buffy Calvert

Leeks are in season. In fact they will be happy in the garden even after frost. I have harvested them for Christmas dinner under snow drifts.

UntitledThese upright, straight-sided alliums offer the tang of onion with a tinge of licorice. A subtle, haunting taste quite unlike the wake-up bite of the spring leeks (or ramps) we find in our wet woods in the spring.

Slice off the root end and wash well between the layers. Classic Vichyssoise is just a combination of potatoes and leeks simmered in a good chicken broth, well-blended with cream and seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a sprinkle of chopped chives. Add corn. Even better!

A very simple dish is boiled new potatoes with slices of leeks added for the last ten minutes. Drain. Add a dollop of butter; mash together. The leeks almost melt into the potatoes. A sort of Colcannon with leeks instead of cabbage. Much faster and delicious!

And, of course, there is Cock-a-Leekie: chicken soup with leeks instead of onions, often with the addition of rice and carrot chunks. ~