In Your Share (July 22nd edition)

LettuceThe perfect summer salad usually starts with a big beautiful head of lettuce. My favorite varieties this time of year are the Batavia or French Summer Crisp – like the Cherokee that is in your share this week. These types seem to thrive in the heat – never getting bitter, always staying fabulously sweet, crunchy and tasty!

There are some great ideas for purple potatoes, fresh beans and the rest of your veggies in the recipe packet HERE.

This week your share may include…

  • Basil: Just a bit this week, but more to come soon!
  • Carrots: Sweet summer carrots will make amazing oven roasted carrot fries – the recipe is in your packet.
  • Collard Greens: I did not grow up with collard greens. In fact I’m not sure I had ever eaten them until the Delta Restaurant opened on Woodstock Blvd in the mid 90’s. For many years I thought of them only in the context of southern food – a delicious and necessary compliment to hushpuppies and sweet potato fries. At some point, probably because they grow so well on the farm, I began to experiment with them in other genres. Now I use them in asian stir fry recipes, add them to Italian fritattas, and most recently have been enjoying them in raw salads that I used to make only with kale. I love them because they are so amenable across culinary borders. When picked fresh from the fields they are sweet and tender yet paradoxically hold up well to long slow cooking. These days, I can hardly imagine life without them.
  • Green Beans: There may also be purple beans in the share along with the green and yellow this week. The dark purple color is beautiful when the beans are fresh, but then sadly fades almost completely when cooked. At their peak of ripeness these beans hardly need cooking. We had lunch with some farmer friends last weekend and they made a simple and tasty salad with cut up green beans, cherry tomato, sweet onion and basil dressed with a simple vinagrette and it was the essence of summer – yum!
  • Garlic: A few head of garlic always come in handy. This week the variety is Music which is relatively easy to peel and has a nice spicy flavor.
  • Lettuce: This week we have two beautiful varieties of leaf lettuce. The green is Tropicana and the red is Cherokee. Both have ruffled leaves that are sweet and crunchy – perfect for summer salads.
  • Mizuna and/or Spring Raab: I love how versatile the mizuna is. It’s frillly leaves are mild enough for salad, but also hold up well to a light saute. The Spring Raab (aka. Sessantina grossa, broccoli rabe, etc) has a stronger flavor and is usually cooked. It’s savory even slightly bitter edge melds well with olives, capers, anchovy, and raisins in this marmalade of spring greens recipe.
  • Spring Onions: These Italian heirloom Red Tropea onions are absolutely at their peak right now with beautiful greens and sweet bulbs bursting with flavor. You can read a bit about the onions and the region in Calabria where they come from at Rosetta Costantino’s website.
  • Purple Potatoes: For many years we grew purple potatoes just for the novelty. The color was striking and I wanted them to taste good, but they just didn’t. Since I found Purple Viking and Purple Majesty all that has changed.  I’ve become a purple potato fan – and I’m not the only one. Read here why Purple Viking is Mark Bittman’s favorite potato.
  • Summer Squash: A nice mix of small tender squash in a variety of different shapes and colors including patty pan, crookneck and zucchini.

Coming soon… Stupice Tomatoes!