Leeks are root vegetables which are similar to spring onions, only much larger, and they can be prepared in a variety of ways. They have a mild flavour that is reminiscent of onions but slightly sweeter. You can cook leeks as a side dish by pan frying, baking, braising, roasting or even sauteing the vegetables.
Pan-fry leeks by heating a small amount of olive oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add sliced leeks and cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, for an easy, tasty leek side dish.
Bake leeks by placing them in a glass casserole dish, sprinkling with grated cheese of choice, and baking for 30 minutes at 190 degrees C (375F). Add salt, pepper and any other spices your family enjoys for a little more flavour, if desired.
Braise leeks by pouring enough chicken or vegetable stock into a heated skillet to cover them. Add sliced leeks, cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes on a medium heat or until tender. Dust the leeks with dried fennel, if desired. Braised leeks prepared this way make a great side dish served with chicken, fish or steak.
Roast leeks by pouring enough olive oil into a roasting pan to coat the leeks. Add sliced leeks and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes in an oven heated to 205 degrees C (400F). Preparing leeks as a side dish in this way will bring out their natural flavour and makes a great accompaniment to beef dishes.
Saute leeks by placing in a non-stick skillet heated over medium heat with a few pinches of dried fennel. Saute the leeks for 5 to 10 minutes or until they are tender but crisp. Add fresh lemon juice to garnish, if desired. This is a healthy, fat-free way to cook leeks as a side dish.
Leeks can also be added to other side dishes or main dishes such as stir-fry, salads, soups and casseroles. They work especially well in potato dishes. Experiment with different dishes to see which ones your family likes best.