Leeks are a bit intimidating.I used to read instructions on how to clean leeks and would steer clear of recipes with leeks so that I didn't end up with the dreaded sandy, gritty, dirty meal resulting from improperly cleaned leeks.
I now have no fear. I disregard all the instructions for cleaning leeks and do it my way.
Leeks My Way
Buy nice healthy medium to large sized leeks.
Cut off the root end and discard. Slice the leek lengthwise down the middle from the light green stalk to the white end. Turn it and slice it lengthwise again so the white end is in quarters. Chop across the quartered white end into thin pieces continuing through the light green portion. Stop at the dark green.
Put the quartered slices into a small colander or sieve and rinse well, tossing with your hands under the water, separating the pieces to rinse away dirt or grit. Dump into a dry kitchen towel, wrap up and set aside to absorb excess moisture.
When ready to cook, heat the pan, pour in your oil and slowly dump leeks from the towel into the hot pan. Do it slowly so the leeks don't fly all over the stove and you don't splash any oil.
For Monday's recipe, MaryAnne's Girlfriend Party Salmon, chop two leeks as instructed above. Heat 1 T olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Dump in rinsed and dried leeks. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Stir well over medium/high heat for a few minutes then turn the heat down a bit and add 1/2 T of butter (butter is optional). Continue to cook for a total of 20-30 minutes, stirring every few minutes and adjusting heat so the leeks just brown a bit but do not burn. They will shrink up a lot but are super flavorful so a little goes a long way.
Leeks are so delicious, they are worth the effort to cook them. I usually double the amount I need so I can use them throughout the week as extra flavor for dishes.