Leeks are a part of the onion family and grow partially underground. Because of this, sand and dirt gets inside of the vegetable and in between the layers. When cooking with leeks, it’s important to clean them thoroughly and properly so your dish doesn’t have a gritty texture. Even the smallest amount of sand can completely ruin a dish, so here’s how to clean leeks and avoid this problem entirely.
1) Start by slicing the leek in half lengthwise, from the white root to the green top. This will expose the many layers of the leek.
2) Next, run the sliced leek under cold water, making sure to get between each layer. The sand and grit hides between the layers, so make sure to wash well until all the dirt is removed.
3) Finally, shake out the excess water and dry well with a clean towel. Now that the leek is clean, use accordingly.
*Cook’s Note: The white part of a leek (which grows underground) is more tender, making it ideal for sauces. The green part of a leek (which grows above ground) is more fibrous which requires a longer cooking time. This part of the leek is perfect for mirepoix when making stocks.