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French leeks differentiate themselves from common leeks in both appearance and flavor. The French leek is sleek with more snowy white flesh versus green throughout its shank, which is advantageous as the green leaves can be fibrous and less edible raw. French leeks have a savory sweet aroma and flavor without the pungency of other alliums, their flesh consistently moist and tender. Young French leeks can be about a foot in length while mature leeks can reach up to two feet while still maintaining their slim figure. Ideally, French leeks will be 1/2" in diameter and not reach diameters of more than 3/4" inch.
French leeks are available in the fall.
French leeks AKA French leek Primor, scientific name Allium porrum, are a superior quality hybrid developed as a fresh market leek for their sweetness, succulence and tender texture. They are meant to be picked young, but those that mature still demonstrate superior flavor.
French leeks are a companion to many other ingredients in the kitchen, and can be a mainstay throughout their season of availability. They are mild enough to eat raw, well textured enough for withstanding long cooking periods. They are perfect for classic winter recipes such as pot pies, leek tarts and hearty soups. French leeks are a great salad or pizza ingredient, are easily sautéed with olive oil or butter and added to potato dishes from pan fried fingerlings, mashed or gratins. French leeks can also be blanched, then grilled to impart smokiness. French leeks pair well with cream sauces such as béchamel, cheeses, especially goat, cheddar and aged sheep's cheese, bread crumbs, grilled and smoked white fish, apples, mustard, parsley, beets, thyme, tomatoes and vinaigrettes.
French leeks were developed in France out of the desire to create a fresh leek crop that was non-bulbing, high yielding and known for its uniformity. The result is a very fast maturing, early variety best suited for Spring and early Summer harvest. French leeks are common in France, but remain obscure in other fresh markets.
Recipes that include French Leeks. One is easiest, three is harder.