Editor’s Note: New ES-er Nina, an NYC-based writer behind The Leafy Kitchen will be bringing us a new weekly column sharing her best ways for cooking up the season’s farmers market finds. First up: leeks!
One time, while checking out at Whole Foods, the young cashier looked my giant leek up and down, gave a shrug and then asked me what the hell it was. So, OK, if you’ve never cooked with a leek before, I guess you are forgiven. But C’MON. For those of you who need a refresher, leeks are a sister of the onion, related to scallions, chives, shallots and garlic. Leeks have a delicate, sweet flavor and won’t make you cry! They’re quite pretty, too: when you slice them, the layers come apart into dozens of perfect circles.
In the Northeast, onions and their kin are happiest in the early spring, so it’s not surprising that proud, oversized leeks were piled high under every produce tent at the Union Square farmers market this week. I picked up one with firm rooty bulbs and a long, white stem (the more white the better as that is the part you cook with), plus two bunches of kale to create my favorite caramelized leeks and greens that can used in a variety of ways.