Salisbury, MD. There are a ton of uses for leeks beyond soup. Some are simple like…
1) Substitute leeks for onions when frying potatoes for a sweeter taste. If you fry with Yukon Gold potatoes, you might find the combined sweetness a tad too much…..or not!
2) Sautee small amount of leeks in frying pan until softened, add some mushrooms and a few eggs for a delicious omelet
3) Use leeks anywhere the recipe calls for onions or scallions and you would like a sweeter, lighter and easier to digest choice
4) Saute and add to veggies to take them out of the realm of "ordinary"
5) A lot of kids don't find them objectionable…and you can honestly say "no onions"!
Some uses are a little more complex like….
1) Granny Dombach's Leek Souffle (something she whips up when she's in the mood to show off). It's actually pretty simple requiring only leeks, eggs, milk flour and your favorite cheese. Granny greases a large soufflé dish (one quart) with butter and preheats her oven to 350. Saute white parts of 2 medium size leaks in 1 or 2 tablespoons butter until soft (about a cup). Salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 ¼ cups milk. Heat to boil, being careful it doesn't stick, and simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Strain out leeks reserving leek flavored milk in a measuring cup. Melt 1/3 stick butter and stir in a scant ¼ cup flour. Cook for a minute or two (or less) and remove from heat when it thickens. Add back in the 1 ¼ cup heated milk (add milk if less than 1 ¼ cups) to flour and make a smooth sauce. Remove from heat when starts to thicken (this will happen quickly, so pay attention). Beat in 4 egg yolks and 3 ounces cheese (Granny likes Gruyere or Asiago) and set aside. Beat the 4 egg whites until thickened. Fold in slightly cooled leek and egg mixture. Pour into soufflé dish. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until puffed and a lovely golden brown. Note: if you are new to soufflés, they do not make for satisfactory left-overs.
And some uses are a tad more exotic like Celtic Shells…
1) Bake six puff pastry shells according to directions (20-25 minutes). Thinly slice one cup of leeks, one cup of mushrooms and 2 cups parsnips. Lightly saute leeks and parsnips in butter. Add ¾ cup low fat milk and ¼ cup powdered fat free milk and reduce until thickened and parsnips are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sautee mushrooms until soft; keep separate. Divide leek/parsnip mixture between the pastry shells, top with mushrooms and serve immediately. Granny Greenthumb likes to add some of those small very economical already cooked shrimp or chopped scallops to the leek/parsnip mixture (baking a few extra pastry shells to accommodate the extra volume) and again topping with mushrooms….and sometimes grated cheese. The number of puff pastry shells will depend upon their size and whether or not you add shrimp or scallops. After you make it a couple times, you will get more expert at judging the number of shells needed. The separate parts can be pre-cooked and reheated at the last minute and, when matched with a salad and the perfect wine, make a festive lunch for the Garden Club. If you happen to have a shell or two left over, not to worry. They taste just fine the next day.
As with all recipes, the Grannies do not offer calorie counts, believing to do so simply serves to spoil the mood. These recipes are, nonetheless, reasonably calorie conscious and cholesterol-wise. So! Off your rockers, Grannies, and into the kitchen. Check out these and other recipes and, if you have a leek recipe you'd like to share, send it over to us and we'll pass it along to our readers .
Gardening Grannies, a group of avid and Master Gardeners, live, love and garden (and cook) on the Delmarva Peninsula. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.