With their mild onion flavor and thick white stalk, leeks are one of my favorite vegetables. They're excellent in cold weather preparations like soups, stews, and braises. When cooking with leeks, it's important to take the time to properly clean them. Because of the way they grow, leeks are one the dirtiest of vegetables, with mud and dirt getting trapped between the layers. Here's how I like to clean mine:

  1. Most recipes call for the white and light green parts only. Start by slicing the dark green part off. Slice off the bottom end.
  2. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and dice according to the specifications in your recipe.
  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Toss the chopped leeks in the water and swirl with your hands.
  4. Let stand in the water for several minutes. Swirl with your hands again to ensure all the dirt is removed.
  5. Drain in a colander and dry with a paper towel.

Do you cook with leeks? How do you prepare them?