Use the whole leek -- green parts, too!

Every part of these leeks (except for the roots and the ties!) went into tonight’s excellent soup.

Every part of these leeks (except for the roots and the ties!) went into tonight’s excellent soup.

It must be my English background, but I’m baffled by the American insistence on cutting off all the dark green leaves of the leek and allowing yourself only the pale green and white stub of the plant. For what earthly reason? The greenest parts, as always, are the most nutritious, and they cook just as easily as the rest of the leek and taste great. After trimming off any withered bits and the root, I’ve eaten the whole leek all my life — and you should, too.

Leeks alone are in the food processor, upper left, while the Staub ‘Dutch oven’ has a medley of chopped fennel bulb, celery, and leek. ALL of the leek, white to dark green!

Leeks alone are in the food processor, upper left, while the Staub ‘Dutch oven’ has a medley of chopped fennel bulb, celery, and leek. ALL of the leek, white to dark green!

Incidentally, a simple way to enjoy leeks is to mix them with rice and diced tomato. Wash and halve the leeks lengthwise, then chop them crosswise under 1/2 of an inch, then cook them in some olive oil or butter in a frying pan (or on a roasting tray at 350°F or a bit lower) until soft and perhaps slightly browned. Add the rice and cooked tomato and herb seasonings, with sea salt and pepper. Great!

Leeks are also lovely with basmati rice and the leftover meat and fresh-made stock from a roast chicken. Add finely chopped garlic, fennel root, and celery, cook in olive oil and the food’s own steam (stirring often), season with sea salt, black pepper, and some smoked paprika, and you have a lovely meal at any season.