Michelle Palmer: Meet leek, cousin of onion and garlic (recipe)

Michelle Palmer’s Bundle of Cooked Leeks with Beet Vinaigrette

Leeks are part of the onion family and are an immune builder. Leek is a vegetable, a cultivar of allium ampeloprasum, the broad-leaved wild leek.
The edible part of the plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths that is sometimes mistakenly called a stalk or stalk. The Allium genus also contains onion, garlic, shallot, shallot, chives and Chinese onion. Onions and garlic are mainstays of most cuisines, but many cooks have never touched a leek.
Leeks look like giant green onions and can replace onions in many dishes. Because leeks are a low calorie food, they can be part of a weight management program.
The water and fiber in leeks can make you feel fuller, so you’re less likely to overeat. Leeks also add a lot of flavor to foods and make eating healthy meals enjoyable. Originally from Central Asia, it has been consumed since Antiquity. It was on the menu of the Egyptians and later the Romans, pioneers of gastronomy, used it extensively in their cooking, especially during their great festivals.
Leeks are rich in vitamin K, which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Some studies show a relationship between higher vitamin K intake and denser bones, which reduces the risk of hip fractures. In some parts of the world, health authorities have approved the use of vitamin K for osteoporosis.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved it in the United States. Leeks contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two substances that protect the eyes. These substances, known as carotenoids, reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Both of these eye conditions can seriously impair vision and negatively impact quality of life. They are common in the elderly. Plants from the allium family may be linked to a lower risk of certain cancers. Cancers of the prostate, stomach, colon and esophagus are rarer in those who consume a lot of garlic, shallots, chives, onions and leeks. Researchers believe that the antioxidants in allium vegetables repair damaged DNA. Many studies have found evidence of a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. An analysis of 16 studies found that all vegetables in the allium family provide these health benefits.
When I was little, my mother made a hot potato leek soup in the winter and a cold potato leek soup in the summer, called Vichyssoise.
When I was asked to cook with Chef Gilles and Tina Galhaut of the Z Bistro restaurant in France, I learned to eat leeks as a side dish like you would with green beans.
It’s a classic recipe for leeks with vinaigrette by chef Reine and his daughter Nadia Sammut, one of the few women to have been awarded a Michelin star in France at the famous Auberge de La Feniere, Cadent Vaucluse

Bundle of cooked leeks with beet vinaigrette
For 4 people
12- ½ inches in diameter X 4 inches long leeks, rinsed
4 green onions ¼ inch in diameter X 12 inches long
1- small beetroot, roasted and cooled, peeled
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
¾ cup Cucuron olive oil
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Run cold water through the leeks, Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Boil the leeks until tender. Remove from skillet onto paper towels. Blanch green onions until tender, then refrigerate.
Arrange the cooled cooked leeks in groups of three. Use green onions to tie the three-packs together.
Put the beets, the pomegranate molasses, the Banyuls vinegar, in the bowl of the blender. Blend until pureed. Slowly add the olive oil in a very small stream with the motor running. Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
They can be lightly grilled or eaten at room temperature after first boiling. Enjoy!
Michelle Palmer is the owner of Absolutely Michelle’s Chef-for-Hire.