They're so flavourful that some Buddhists in China and Vietnam avoid eating them - along with onion, garlic, chives and shallots (all from the same family, Allium, as the leek is). That might be because the strength of flavour could excite the senses and make it more difficult for Buddhists who are seeking to control their material desires. The other prevailing theory is that the way those root crops are harvested causes tiny organisms in the soil to be killed.
Here in New Zealand, however, the leek's strength of flavour is wonderful in soup, gratin, risotto, pasta or tarts. You can even use the ends to make a strong stock, a vinaigrette or colconnan - with mashed potatoes, cabbage and garlic.
They are full of vitamins A, C and K, as well as iron and fibre. But even better, they taste bloody good.
Their flavour is much like that of onion but milder, so it works wonderfully with chicken, peas, cauliflower, cheese, potatoes, bacon, and cream. And the flavours really sing with garlic, chervil, parsley, chervil, tarragon and maybe even a dash of white wine...
And though you can almost taste the soup on your tongue just thinking about the possibilities, we encourage you to try them out for yourself: our leeky kitchen recipes can be found here. Enjoy!