How to Make Melted Leeks


I have attempted to make melted leeks on a number of occasions but the texture always ended up being slightly tough. This isn't a complicated dish so I just figured my amateur status in the kitchen was to blame. It wasn't until I forgot about my pan on the stove that the leeks finally crossed over to the melt-in-your-mouth zone. Happy cooking accidents are the best.

Around the Dinner Table

Leeks are the royalty of the Allium family. They're the symbol of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and on March 1st citizens wear leeks (or daffodils) on their lapels to celebrate Saint David's Day. Upon reading this, I immediately asked the Google for photographic evidence of said veggie fashion statement. The following photo makes me inexplicably happy.

Saint David's Day - 1957 - Geoff Charles

Legend has it that in the 6th century there was a battle that wasn't going very well for the Welsh. Since the fighting was taking place in a leek field, Saint David suggested to the soldiers that they identify themselves by wearing leeks on their helmets - a sensible suggestion. The tide turned in favor of the Welsh and the rest is vegetable-wearing history. Shakespeare even wrote an entire scene about the practice in Henry V.

The urge to strap a leafy leek to my clothing is strong.

Recipe Tips

Leeks are a regal vegetable but they can be a bit dirty. The cleaning process is simple:

  • Cut the root and dark greens off.
  • Remove the outer layer (there almost always seems to be dirt underneath).
  • Slice the remaining portion of the leek lengthwise, taking care not to cut all the way through.
  • Gently fan the leek out under running water and rinse any dirt away.


Leeks at Tutti Frutti Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market

Ingredients (Yields About 1/2 Cup)

  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + extra as needed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon diamond kosher salt


  • Add the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and melt over medium heat.
  • Once the butter starts to foam, add the leeks, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, then stir to coat. Note: The salt will help draw out moisture.
  • Adjust the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. The lid helps sweat the vegetables which softens them up.
  • Set the timer for 30 minutes and go about your business, stirring the leeks a few times when you think of it. Note: If the leeks start to look dry, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil as needed. The leeks should always be well coated but not swimming.
  • After 30 minutes, taste the leeks and make sure they melt in your mouth. The texture should not be chewy or firm. Extend the cooking time if you haven't reached this point.
  • Remove the leeks from the heat and cool.


Melted leeks can be refrigerated for 2-3 days in an airtight container and they freeze beautifully.

Serving Suggestions

  • What do melted leeks not go with? Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Farro Salad
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Pizza - Four onion pizza, or really any pizza that calls for caramelized onions.
  • Fish - Maybe add in some roasted tomatoes as well.
  • Mashed Potatoes - Try some roasted garlic with this.
  • Eggs - Leeks and goat cheese were meant for eggs.


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