It’s not that leeks frequent the Lebanese table. It’s that they frequent so many dishes across the board, giving dimension and making everything taste better. At Tante Marie’s, there were many ingredients at the ready every day for our cooking, and leeks were among them.

I’ve been eyeing a super simple recipe for leeks in olive oil in one of my Lebanese cookbooks, and liked it so much when I tried it that I wanted to share it with you—which I’ll do this week. Typically leeks play a supporting role to ramp up the flavor of something else, but they are sumptuous on their own too and deserve a moment in the spotlight. Besides, the leeks are still looking so bright and green at the farmers market, they begged me to take their picture and share them with you.

When selecting leeks, squeeze them at the white root end. You’re looking for firmness, which indicates freshness. The dark green ends should also be firm and stiff. Leeks usually are packed in bundles of three or four, which is just the right amount for one of my favorite soups, leek and potato. There may be a soggy outer layer here and there on the leeks, but that will be peeled off later, no problem.

Tomorrow we’re going to get after a simple trick to make the task of cleaning these bad boys a snap—and they are bad when it comes to dirt among their many layers—along with a clever way to use the dark green ends.

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