The little leeks planted last fall are wonderfully tasty this spring. These leeks were the last to be transplanted last year, intermingled with small cabbage transplants. The cabbages, alas, froze to death in that very cold snap in November, but the leeks lived. They will be good until the weather warms, at which time they will soften as they try to bolt. So we must eat lots of leeks before early summer.
Remember, when you harvest leeks be sure to dig them with a shovel or garden fork. Pulling them usually just breaks them, as their roots are wide and strong. If you take a pair of scissors with you to the harvest, you can cut off the roots, trim the leaves, and strip the first outer leaf off the stalk. This makes for easy cleaning in the kitchen. Leeks are root crops, so it’s best to slice the leek longwise and rinse out any dirt that fell between the skins while the leek was growing. The green tough leaves of leeks can be used in cooking, but I haven’t tried it.
Leeks in the garden
Leeks with cabbages
And oysters are best in cool weather, if you pick on a clean beach in Puget Sound. So here’s a recipe for oysters and leeks on toast, a leeky version of the classic oysters and onions on toast.
Leeks and oysters
Leeks and oysters cooking
Leeks and oysters on toast
Leeks and Oysters on Toast
- 2T butter
- 2T light olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 scallion, chopped, including green part
- 2 dozen oysters, shucked with liquid reserved. Feel free to use a pint jar of oysters from the market
- 2-4 cups chopped leeks, the white part with just a little of the green part
- 1/2 class white wine
- 1 T chopped parsley
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- Soften carrots, garlic and scallion in butter and oil over medium high heat.
- Add leeks, parsley, oyster liquid, wine and pepper, cook until leeks are very soft, about 7-10 minutes.
- Lay oysters on top of leek mixture in pan, making a single layer.
- Cover and cook 8-10 minutes over medium heat, until oysters are opaque and edges curled.
- Serve over lightly buttered rye bread toast