Just like sautéed vegetables, many people today are growing to love grilled vegetables, including leeks. Leeks is one of the different fall vegetables which only need to be on the heat for a few minutes in order to achieve tender and juicy results.
They still remain to be vegetables irrespective of how tough they are when raw, and so you should minimize how long you’re going to subject them to heat because they might just lose their nutrients. In this article, I’m going to show you the tips I usually use to shorten their cooking time and more tips on how to grill leeks.
7 Effective Ways of How to Grill Leeks
- Trim the roots
While trimming the roots, you have to be careful only to discard the furthest end of the roots. It’s at this end that the leeks are held together, and that’s why you should only trim the parts that you have to. Once the leaves are separated, they become thinner, and grilling such will dry all the juices out. So, make sure that your knife or blade is sharp enough to achieve this accuracy.
- Trim the dark-green leaves
Leeks usually have parts where the leaves are darker even for baby leeks as well, and this aren’t needed. The thing is that, they’re the toughest and sticky parts, therefore you’ll need more than the heat from the grill to make them tender. Grilling them untrimmed could also mean that you’ll end up with leeks that are unevenly-cooked, because the other end only requires a few minute to cook.
So, ensure that what’s left is only the softer pale-green parts which will require less cooking time. However, instead of disposing them off, you can save them for your vegetable broth. You can also sauté them when thinly chopped.
- Peel the leeks
The first layer of the leaves on every leek also tends to be tough, and as we have seen, whatever you need is the tender parts. Pulling them off also removes the bruises, bumps or discolouration that the leeks may have developed. In the event that they’re in a perfect shape, you can also add them to the darker leaves that you previously chopped off for separate sautéing or vegetable broth.
- Cut them in half
Now, this and the next step can be done interchangeably, depending on what feels easier for you. However, boiling the whole leek will take more time than when it’s done into halves. It also makes it easier to clean the halves preferably under running water, removing any dirt which can sometimes hide in between the leaves before boiling them.
Cleaning could sometimes mean that you have to separate the leaves, and so after that, ensure that you push them back for it to remain contact as before. This also requires a sharp knife that can slice through every piece lengthwise. You’ll realize that every half will be intact if you trimmed the roost as required.
- Bring them to boil
First, you have to bring the water to boil and in there you can add salt and any other spices of your choice. You have options like rosemary, pepper, garlic and many more which can match the oniony flavours of the leeks. It’s through this that it can easily build up flavours as the seasoned water seeps through every leaf.
You need the original colour retained, and therefore you should only let them boil for 5 minutes on the higher end. After that, rinse them under cold water to stop them from cooking any further. This is also the reason why you should place them in an already boiling salty water, so that they don’t stay in there for too long. And after rinsing, pat them dry before you proceed to the next step.
- Season with oil
Grilling the leeks without coating them in oil can cause them to burn. Therefore, generously layer every piece with vegetable, or any other cooking oil before you place them on the cooking grates.
Greasing also prevents them from sticking on the cooking grates, which might cause a mess. With this, you’ll have grilled leeks with crisp and shiny layers, which is also full of flavour. For those who skipped the boiling part, here’s where you can season with salt and spices.
- Grill the leeks
Having boiled the leeks, you’ll only need medium heat to have them ready in no time. In setting the leeks, ensure that it’s the sliced sides that are directly facing the heat, because with that, it’s easier for the heat to be evenly distributed to the rest of the layers.
Cover the grill and let them cook for about 5 minutes, or until you see grate marks on them. Turn the other sides and repeat the process, until the leeks are tender. And just like that friends, you have your grilled leeks ready.
One of the things to consider when buying leeks that you plan to grill is how fresh they look, irrespective of the sizes you want. They shouldn’t show any signs of browning on the roots or wilting on the leaves. This could alter the expected flavours after grilling. Another way to keep the flavours intact is grilling them while wrapped in foils, so that they’re not directly placed on the cooking grates. But if you have a flat top grill, this hack won’t be necessary.