How to clean leeks

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There are two good ways to wash leeks that you're going to slice or chop. Whichever way you choose, be sure to remove all the sand and dirt. Both methods call for cutting the leeks lengthwise because the leaves are so tightly wrapped together that water can't get between them.

The first method is to trim and discard all but one half inch of the hairlike roots. Cut the leek in half lengthwise up to the root.

Attached at the root end, the leek will still be in one piece.

Spread the tightly wrapped leaves and, using a vegetable brush or your thumbs, gently rub the dirt off the leaves while holding the leek under a warm-water spray. Warm water dislodges the dirt better than cold. Now you're ready to cut away the rest of the root and slice the leek into whatever size pieces you need.

The second method is to cut away the entire root end and then cut the leek lengthwise. Holding the two halves together, slice the leek into pieces. Submerge the cut-up pieces in warm water. Using your hands, gently rub them to loosen the dirt that clings to the leaves.

Finally, put the leek pieces into a strainer and spray them well with warm water and check carefully to make sure they're clean.

The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee ISBN 0-446-51792-5 pg 32 Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 10-05-95

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