“If envious age loosens the nuptial knot, let leeks be your food…”
At the AbanoRitz you can find it in soups, as risotto or as a side dish, with potatoes and fennel, or often as a delicate aroma for roasts to which it releases its beneficial properties. Here is another product of our beloved Euganean Hills: the leek.
The use of this vegetable in the kitchen already appears in some ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and in the Middle Ages the Salerno Medical School confirmed its virtues in making maidens fertile. Ippocrate is also said to have recommended it to increase diuresis and milk in nursing mothers. Plinio, a Latin historian, praised this vegetable, claiming that “taken in a barley cream, or eaten raw without bread, every other day, it also benefits the voice, the sexual pleasure and the sleep”. Emperor Nerone, in fact, used it extensively to clear his voice and was therefore nicknamed the leekphagus.
The leek is a biennial herbaceous plant of the Liliaceae family, like garlic and onion, and it does not form underground bulbs. There are two varieties: one summer-ripening, smaller and more tender, the other winter-ripening, less tender and with a more intense flavour. It is easy to cultivate, which is why you can also find wild leeks growing wild. In fact, our cook Alessandro often finds some along the roads leading from Arquà Petrarca to Monselice and they are so sweet that they can be used whole.
Leeks have a low calorie content, lots of fibre and a high satiating power. Above all, it aids digestion, has an antiseptic action that is useful in cases of inflammation or intoxication, is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants such as allicin, which helps reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and is very rich in minerals (calcium, phosphorus, selenium and potassium), vitamins (A, B, C, E, K) and folic acid. The leek is therefore an important food for the health of our organism.
We look forward to seeing you at the White Gloves restaurant at the AbanoRitz to discover the different variations of leeks brought to your table and cooked with loving care by our kitchen!