What do leeks taste like? Is it a delicious ingredient that you can use a myriad of dishes?
Well, to answer these questions, we have to know first some things about these leeks. Read on
What Are Leeks?
To those who are asking the question "is a leek a vegetable," the answer is a resounding yes. Leeks are a known family of vegetables that are also called "Allium." In this family, onion, garlic, shallots, chives, and scallions are also members. The scientific name of the leeks is "Allium ampeloprasum." There is a myriad of varieties or cultivars for leeks. Each of the different types of leeks can have a unique impact and influence on the food.
What Do Leeks Look Like?
In general, leeks have an appearance similar to grasses. However, the main identifying points of this particular veggie is its thick white root that has a cylindrical shape. The root is edible, by the way. The latter also supports the entire body of the leek, especially the stalk. Meanwhile, the stalk is there branch and spread into fine and flat green leaves. Compared to other members of the "Allium" family, leeks don't have bulbs or cloves.
Meanwhile, the texture of the leeks is quite juicy and palpable. It usually emits a distinct undertone that fits perfectly to a myriad of recipes. Many chefs and gourmets believe that leeks are among the mildest and sweetest type of onion out there.
What Do Leeks Taste Like?
Describing the taste of leeks is quite a complex matter. It is tricky because there are several comparisons that you can make here. For now, you need to know that leeks are quite similar to onions.
Therefore, if you are asking the question, "do leeks taste like onions", the answer is yes. But the thing is, there are different varieties of onions. One way or another, it is entirely tricky to identify which kind of onion does the leek resembles.
Some leeks have a mild flavor, while others have sweet undertones on them. Of course, you can also find leek variants that have a strong taste. But in most cases, I can say that leeks have moderate onion taste. Subjectively, it is mild but still has the capacity to give your food the extra boost in taste that it needs.
The difference between leeks and onions when eaten raw can be easily distinguished. But once they have been put into the mixture, it is already difficult to determine if the one that was used is a leek or onion. Furthermore, the manner of cooking can alter the taste of leek. For instance, if you are going to boil it, its onion-like taste will eventually dilute. On the other hand, if you stir-fry or saute it, the flavor of the leeks might get amplified.
Different Types Of Leek
Just like I said earlier, the "generic" leek can provide a mild onion flavor. But then again, such a statement is not absolute, especially if you are going to hop from one variety of leeks to another. The flavor profile of these leeks is typically distinct, which allows growers, harvesters, and chefs to identify what kind of leeks they are dealing with.
Here are some of the popular variants of leeks.
As a cultivar of leeks, King Richard depicts a strong and rich onion taste. In fact, I can say that the strength of its flavor can overpower other variants of leeks. It features a white stalk that, once tasted, will give you a mild impression. The size of King Richard is quite compact because it has a small stem. Because of this, King Richard is ideal for grilling and making salads. It works well with soups and stews.
The whiteness of the shanks and the paleness of the foliage are among the identifying features of the Lincoln. There are a lot of chefs who prefer to use this particular leek variant because of its versatility. They even say that it provides enhancement to various recipes and dishes, regarding of the cooking style that was used. One of the reasons for this is its subtle undertone. It is a good choice if you are making pure vegetable dishes.
The Giant Musselburgh simply lives up to its name. The thickness of this stalk can reach up to 2 to 4 inches in diameter, which is pretty astounding indeed. Despite its burly appearance, the stalk of this leek is quite soft and tender. The flavor is undeniably mild, too, which is quite ironic because of its given size. Just like the other leeks here, the Giant Musselburgh is great for salads and soups.
Another giant in our list the Giant Bulgarian. It is commonly used in various restaurants and home recipes because of its given versatility. The color of its foliage is light-green, which should be distinguished separately from the pale coloration of the Lincoln. Preparing this particular leek variant is not that difficult since the shanks are slim and long. Notably, the flavor of the Giant Bulgarian is still onion but does come with a sweet undertone.
The Varna is notable for its ability to grow stems that have 10-inch thickness. Aside from that, it is pretty evident that the coloration of its leaves is quite different from other leeks. Specifically, the leaves of Varna are blue-green in color. Meanwhile, its flavor is sweet and onion-like, which makes it great for salads. You can use this leek variant in stews and salads.
To summarise things up, we have already identified that leeks have a similar flavor to onions, as they belong to the same family. It is also a vegetable that has versatile usage, especially in making soups, stews, and other dishes that require enhancement in scent and taste. Furthermore, leeks are affordable. You can easily acquire them whenever you need to. Overall, it would really be great if you can try using this particular veggie the next time you are going to cook a meal!
That's it for now. If you have questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.