Leeks are one of the most versatile root vegetables available. From soups to stir-fries -- or even raw as a garnish -- they add a savoury flavour to dishes. But one of the best ways to enjoy leeks is all on their own, roasted with a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper. These can be eaten all by themselves as an appetizer, or as a side dish to accompany meats or seafood.
Prepare leeks for cooking. Rinse under cold water to remove dirt or sand, and peel off any outer layers that are damaged. Use a sharp knife to trim about an inch off the top, and to trim the roots off the bottom. Don't cut into smaller pieces -- the leeks should be left at their full length for roasting.
Preheat oven to 204 degrees Celsius. While the oven is heating up, brush a thin layer of olive oil on the baking dish, and lay the leeks inside. Leave space between the leeks. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil across the leeks, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the leeks in the oven, on a centre rack, and let cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lower portion is tender. Remove from oven and let sit for a moment.
Serve hot, as a side dish with your meal, or as a savoury appetizer.
Like most vegetables, leeks are a good addition to a healthy diet. They're a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins B6, A, C and K, as well as folate, manganese and iron. Leeks can also be prepared as a side dish with mixed vegetables, or chopped and fried (see Resources).