These crispy leeks are a wonderful garnish for salads, soups or main dish proteins like beef, pork or salmon.
1 medium leek, trimmed of roots and dark green tops
2 cups neutral-flavored oil, such as peanut, vegetable or canola
1. Thinly slice the white and light green parts of the leek into 3-inch-long julienne strips. Rinse in a bowl of water to remove the grit, drain and pat dry.
2. In a small saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat (it should reach a depth of about 1 inch) it reaches 325º and 350º on a candy thermometer. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low to hold the oil in this temperature range. Add a small handful of the leeks to the oil.
3. Fry the leeks in batches, stirring often with a metal slotted spoon, until the oil is barely bubbling and the leeks are light golden brown, 1-3 minutes. (The oil temperature will drop when you add the leeks; let it return to the starting temperature before frying the next batch.)
4. Lift the leeks from the oil using the slotted spoon, tap against the side of the pan to drain off excess oil, and transfer to a large plate lined with paper towels.
5. Sprinkle the leeks lightly with salt while they are still hot. Let cool to room temperature before using as a garnish.