Leeks (Allium porrum), like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables.

Selection and storage

Select leeks that are firm and straight with dark green leaves and white necks. Good quality leeks will not be yellowed or wilted, and the bulbs will be free of cracks or bruises. Fresh leeks can be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for one to two weeks. Wrapping the leeks loosely in a plastic bag will help them retain their moisture.

Preparation and serving methods

Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as the chiffonade cut, slicing until you reach the green portion. Make sure slices are cut very thin to shorten cooking time. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.

Leek, Bacon, and Pea Risotto by Martha Suart