1. Slice off the tangled root end and the thick, woody dark green top of each leek at the approximate same length. Wash the leeks vigorously under slow-running cold water, using your hands and fingers to scrape away insistent dirt and sand. Arrange them on a cutting board, and in one confident move, stab the tip of a sharp chef’s knife into the leek 1/2 inch from the root end, and run it the rest of the length to the green top, in essence cleaving the leek starting from the white pale root, making two legs and a crotch, where only one thick column was to start. Back at the sink, wash again and again, keeping the leeks intact, but removing every single last grain of sand.
from Leeks Vinaigrette and Sieved Eggs Recipe, by Gabrielle Hamilton