Lucious Leeks add flavor, nutrients to your dinner table

By Shelby Spears
spears@spearsstrong.com

It is Camas Farmers Market season and I couldn't be more excited- like jump for joy kind of excited.

I love vegetables. That may sound weird or maybe like an exaggeration but I mean it. I love nothing more than finding a new vegetable to try or enjoying the simple pleasure of my favorites raw or lightly dressed- radishes, kale, peppers and more...

 Dan and Caroline Swansey of Yacolt Mountain Farm and their gorgeous leeks. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Camas Association. 

Dan and Caroline Swansey of Yacolt Mountain Farm and their gorgeous leeks. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Camas Association. 

So I am beaming to share with you a new feature blog post of my favorite farmers, Dan and Caroline  Swansey of Yacolt Mountain Farm. This is our second summer doing a CSA through Yacolt and if you don't already do this we highly recommend it. It is so fun to see what vegetables you get in your box each week to plan meals around and try new veggies. 

And who better to give us advice on how to cook these scrumptious delicacies from Mother Nature than Dan and Caroline? Each week I plan to bring you a tip or two from the farmers! This week our feature is all about leeks. If you got the chance to go to the market last week, you likely saw (and hopefully purchased) the large onion-like veggie from Yacolt. Leeks pack a nice nutritional punch- high in vitamins and low in calories- and they add a lot of flavor to your dish. 

 The middle stalk of the leek is scrumptious. Char it in the iron skillet and see how fast it flies from the table. 

The middle stalk of the leek is scrumptious. Char it in the iron skillet and see how fast it flies from the table. 

Caroline suggests adding them to soup. Leeks hold up better than onions, giving you a more hearty base rather than mush. These particular leeks have a fun story. They are winter leeks who survived our harsh ice and snow. They lived through all that frost, storing up nutrients you can now bring to your table. 

My favorite tip from Caroline, though, was about the middle stalks. If you break down the leek and tear away the outside, you will reveal the mid stalk. Saut√© these up with a little oil, salt and pepper and eat them like you would asparagus. They make a delicious appetizer while prepping the rest of the leek for dinner! 

Stay tuned for more tips from Yacolt Mountain Farm and be sure to head to the market tomorrow. It starts at 3 pm.