>THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU
• Rapini (*see recipes at the end)
• Baby Bok Choi (*see recipes at the end)
• Pea Shoots
• Spring Onions, Leek Scapes, or Green Garlic
• Greenhouse “Weeds” or Dandelion Greens
• Spring Salad Mix
• Stir-Fry Greens
• Green Onions
We’re still in recovery from the spring slump, I’m afraid. The glorious sunny weather last week, and the deluge of rain over the weekend mean the new greens will be bursting forth soon. We’ve got a beautiful patch of spinach on the way, plus salad greens and stir-fry greens that just needed an extra push. We’ve almost got all of the onions planted, so green onions won’t be long either. And, as if summer were really almost here, we’re nearly ready to plant our two acres of winter squashes, plus the summer squashes, cucumbers, sweet corn, and beans, and the first set of broccoli and cabbage transplants are on their way out of the greenhouse and into the field. The greenhouses are cleaned-up and ready to fertilize for planting tomatoes, peppers, and fancy cucumbers. And, the cut-flower garden is nearly ready to start planting, at last. There will soon be a bit out there for cutting though—things that made it through the winter, like larkspur, bachelor buttons, and black-eyed susans.
The mint is in full-form now—it is the most bountiful spring herb, after all. I’ve had reports that it’s great in tea, either alone or with green or black teas. Personally, I like it with peas (or pea shoots, before the peas come on) and it’s great with beets, and beet greens. I whipped together a pasta dish one evening with about a pound of pasta, a chunk of fresh chevre (goat cheese) and a bunch of chopped fresh mint, plus salt and pepper. I might have used a little oil to moisten the whole thing. I chopped and blanched the bunch of pea shoots and tossed the whole thing together. Even the kids ate it.
If you choose the leek scapes this week, you can use them just like the infamous garlic scapes (a.k.a. garlic curls) of June. Chop them up and use them like a leek, garlic, or green onion. Or, they can be roasted or grilled just like asparagus—of course, they will taste a bit of the onion family, not like asparagus.
Our steamy greenhouse is rife with “weeds”—lambsquarter, amaranth, purslane, and chicories. Other cultures consider these weeds delicious, and they are all very nutritious. You can use them just like spinach, a quick sauté is all they need.
I love the combination of mint and onions. Any kind of onions. One of the best van-loads of produce on the way to market or Flying Fish restaurant is when there is an abundance of onions and mint. (Second only to a van-load of basil. Maybe it’s a tie, I’m not sure now that I remember it.) They’re great together in a raita, mixed into yogurt as a dip. They’re both great together in a rice salad or tabbouleh.
ONION & MINT RAITA
4 Scallions (or 2-3 Salad Onions)
1 cup Plain Yogurt
1/3 tsp. Salt
Black Pepper to taste
1 tsp. ground toasted Cumin Seeds
1/8 tsp. Cayenne, optional
2–3 tbsp. finely chopped Fresh Mint
1. Cut the scallions into very thin rounds starting at the white section and going halfway up the pale green section. Do not use the green parts. Put them into a small bowl filled with ice-cold water. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Drain. Put the sliced scallions in a dish towel. Bring the 4 ends of the towel together and squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the scallions. Set aside.
2. Put the yogurt in a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork until smooth and creamy. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne and mix well, then add the scallions and mint. Serve chilled.
Excellent with bean dishes, or with a simple salad of spinach or mizuna, delicate quick-cooked spinach or Swiss chard, and/or cooked grains.
GINGER-SESAME BOK CHOI
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
5 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
4 to 5 baby bok choy, (1 pound), each halved lengthwise
1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, bring 1 cup water and ginger to a boil. Add the bok choy; reduce to a simmer.
3. Cover and cook until leaves are vibrant green and stems are fork-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well; discard ginger.
4. Transfer bok choy to a serving platter; drizzle with the vinegar-soy mixture, and serve immediately.
WILTED ASIAN GREENS
3 tbsp. Rice Vinegar (not seasoned)
1-1/2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
1-1/4 tsp. Sugar
1-1/4 tsp. finely grated peeled Fresh Ginger
3/4 tsp. Sesame Oil
3 cups Pea Shoots
6 cups Asian Greens, such as tatsoi, mizuna, or baby bok choi
1. Heat vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and sesame oil in a small saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved (do not let boil).
2. Pour hot dressing over greens in a large bowl and toss well. Serve immediately.
PEAS & PEA TENDRILS WITH LEMON DRESSING
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sugar
2 cups Shelled Fresh Peas or one 10-ounce package frozen Petite Peas, unthawed
8 ounces Pea Tendrils, cut into 4-inch lengths
1. Whisk oil, lemon juice, and sugar in small bowl to blend; set dressing aside.
2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add fresh or frozen peas and cook 3 minutes. Add pea tendrils; cook 1 minute. Drain well. Return vegetables to pot; add oil-lemon dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
PEA SHOOT PESTO
1 small Garlic Clove, smashed
1/4 cup Cilantro leaves (optional)
4 ounces Pea Shoots, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice (about 2 limes)
1/3 cup Olive Oil
3.4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-1/2 tsp. Salt and 1/4 tsp. Freshly Ground Pepper
1. Purée all ingredients in a blender. If not using immediately, refrigerate in a airtight container up to 1 week.
2. Use like basil pesto. Delicious on pasta or sandwiches, or spread onto slices of rustic bread and top with shaved Parmesan cheese, or spoon it over soft goat cheese.
PIZZA WITH RAPINI, ROASTED ONIONS, & OLIVES
Pizza Dough for 1 Pizza
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced Olive Oil
1 bunch Broccoli, Kale, or Turnip Sprouts, or Rapini
1 pinch Hot Pepper Flakes
1 clove Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
16 Nicoise or Kalamata Olives, pitted 1 Lemon
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Toss the onion in a small ovenproof sauté pan with a pinch of salt & enough olive oil to coat lightly. Put the pan in the oven & roast, stirring occasionally, until the onion is cooked & golden, about 30 minutes.
2. Wash & drain the broccoli, remove the tougher stems, & roughly chop the leaves & sprouts.You should have 2 cups. Heat a large sauté pan & coat it with olive oil. Add the broccoli, season with salt, pepper & the hot pepper flakes, & fry over high heat until the broccoli is tender. Add the garlic & fry, tossing, for a few seconds.
3. When the onions are done, take them out of the oven & turn the heat up to 450°. Roll out a 12 to 14 inch disk of pizza dough & slide it onto a floured baking sheet. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil. Evenly sprinkle with the cheese, spread the onions over, & top with the broccoli & olives. Drizzle about 1 tsp. olive oil over the pizza. Slide the pizza into the oven & bake from 5 to 10 minutes, until the crust is brown & crisp. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice, slice, & serve.
RAPINI WITH THEME AND THREE VARIATIONS
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
BLANCHED RAPINI(Broccoli Raab)
1 pound Rapini (broccoli rabe), washed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons Salt
1. Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Stir in rapini greens and salt and cook until wilted and tender, about 2 1/2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Cool empty saucepan by rinsing under cold running water. Fill cooled saucepan with cold water and submerge greens to stop the cooking process. Drain again; squeeze well to dry (or twirl in a salad spinner) and proceed with one of the following recipes.
Variation 1: RAPINI WITH GARLIC & RED PEPPER FLAKES
2 T extra virgin Olive Oil
3 medium Garlic Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 recipe Blanched Rapini Greens (above)
1. Heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in medium skillet over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle, about 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, add blanched rapini greens,
and cook, stirring to coat with oil, until heated through, about
1 minute. Season to taste with salt, serve immediately.
Variation 2: RAPINI WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES & PINE NUTS
Ingredients for Variation 1, plus
1/4 cup Oil-Packed Sun-dried Tomatoes, cut into thin strips
3 tbsp. Toasted Pine Nuts
1. Follow recipe for Rapini with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes, adding sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Add toasted pine nuts to skillet with rapini greens.
Variation 3: RAPINI WITH ASIAN FLAVORS
Ingredients for Variation 1, plus
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 1/2 tsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Finely Grated Ginger
1. Mix soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and sugar in small bowl; set aside. Follow recipe for Rapini with Garlic
and Red Pepper Flakes, adding ginger along with garlic and red pepper flakes. Add reserved soy sauce mixture to skillet along with rapini.