I always cringe when I hear people say they cut all the leaves off their leeks before starting a recipe. They are throwing away perfectly good food and don’t even know it. This recipe starts with the leaves, the fan-shaped, dark green tops of the white stems most people associate with leeks. Though they look a little tougher than their white counterparts, the leaves cook down just as tenderly as the stems and share the same sweet, buttery flavor. Sometimes I actually prefer the leaves to the stems, as their texture won’t break down under high heat. They end up caramelizing much like onions do, turning soft and velvety but retaining a bit of bite.
FOR THE SAUCE
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
FOR THE STIR-FRY
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 4 cups chopped leeks dark green leaves only
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1- inch piece ginger minced
- 1 ¼ pounds uncooked large shrimp peeled and deveined
- In a small bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the sunflower oil around the wok and add the leeks, spreading them across the surface in a single layer. Cook undisturbed until they begin to wilt and brown on the edges, about 2 minutes. Give a quick stir and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes until the leeks are tender.
- Add the garlic and ginger, tossing them around frequently so they don’t burn. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until the flesh begins to turn pink on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour in the sauce and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.