Summer vegetables (and fruit!) and chilled soups
With the beginning of high summer comes the onslaught of CSA vegetables. Summer squash is always presents a challenge to me; if I had a grill, I’d be set. But I don’t. So I like to make cold vegetable soup instead.
With last week’s Sol Flower Farm CSA box, I made chilled zucchini and basil soup, shown above. It was simple and fast. Be sure to hit it with a lot of citrus juice, as the recipe suggests. You could also finish it with a dollop of plain yogurt or other dairy. I didn’t make the garnish of steamed zucchini batons, btw. Too much work for too little reward.
Cucumbers make great cold soups, too. Here’s a few chilled vegetable soups you might try:
Chilled cucumber soup with buttermilk and dill This is a great recipe I discovered several summers ago. I love buttermilk; this recipe uses a quart, which is nice because I hate buying some for a recipe and struggling to use the rest.
Creamy cold avocado and cucumber soup Seems like a no-brainer.
Julia Child’s cold beet and cucumber soup Because Julia.
Chilled beet soup with horseradish cream I haven’t made this one either, but it’s well-reviewed, so I will.
Summer soup also means gazpacho, a specific kind of cold soup from Spain. Many traditionally include bread as a filler. I’ve listed some that don’t (or call for gluten-free bread) below. Another pre-tomato gazpacho ingredient was almonds, which, if you’re trying to adapt a gazpacho recipe that does include bread, are a fine substitute. Use a food processor to pulverize them, and buy almonds that are already skinned.
Cold zucchini and mint gazpacho (calls for a slice of gluten-free bread. I strongly recommend Udi’s; it’s the best GF bread on the market.)
Ian Knauer’s chilled tomato and peach gazpacho Ian, who now has his first cookbook and a show on PBS, writes great recipes; several of his creations (from his years in the Gourmet test kitchen) are staples in my everyday repertoire. I’ll be trying this one next.
NomNomPaleo’s cold watermelon and tomato gazpacho Tomatoes and melons are right around the corner! Don’t sleep on the tomato/watermelon combo; it’s unexpected and utterly delicious.
Y’all ready for some yellowfin tuna?
Today’s catch of the day from Village Fishmonger is none other than yellowfin. Like many of the fillets we receive, this one will benefit from as little cooking as possible; below you’ll find several raw preparations as well as a handful of recipes that call for nothing more than a sear.
If you insist of cooking it through, I’ve proposed a few final recipes that I think will still highlight the superior flavor and texture of this prized fish.
A note on soy sauce: if you don’t eat soy sauce for whatever reason, fish cookery can be a bit of a challenge. I keep both coconut aminos and Red Boat fish sauce in my cupboard, and use the aminos to substitute for soy sauce in most recipes. Fish sauce isn’t a soy sauce substitute, but it does provide a huge umami kick to almost any fish dish, especially if it already has Southeast Asian flavors. I wouldn’t use fish sauce in a ceviche prep because those flavors tend to skew South or Central American. But sometimes when I have fish to cook and no inspiration for other ingredients, I simply broil it, drizzle it with Red Boat, and I’m golden.
Raw or Nearly Raw Preparations
Seared avocado tuna tartare
Tuna ceviche tacos
Seared Tuna Preparations
Seared tuna pepper steaks
Simple seared tuna with sesame and wasabi
Pan-seared tuna with avocado, soy, ginger and lime
Oven, Broil, and Tuna Burger Preparations
Wasabi-sesame crusted tuna (oven method)
Broiled bacon-wrapped tuna from NomNomPaleo
Tuna braised in olive oil from NomNomPaleo
Spicy tuna burgers
#Rippetoe and some of the #NYC area #StartingStrength crew get together at Wolf’s place in Manhattan for #BBQ #bourbon and #beer And creepy red eye photos. #startingstrengthcoach #wolfmanor #meat #strength (at Wolf Manor)
Now you know how I spent (part of) my weekend.
Reblogging my original fluke post because today we are, in fact, actually going to get FLUKE in our CFSBK fish CSA.
Welcome to our first CSF delivery: FLUKE!
Fluke is a flat fish with tender, mild white flesh. Recipes for fluke and flounder are generally interchangeable (if you’re interested to know why, read this) so take a look at the following as you think about what to make with your share. Uncharacteristically, I haven’t tested all these recipes, but I did curate the list to include those that looked reliable, tested well, or had positive commentary.
Good methods for fluke include pan-frying, broiling, and baking. Always take care not to overcook fish. Take this advice from Fine Cooking:
"The often-quoted theory of cooking fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness may be a good guideline, but in reality 8 minutes is a better timeframe in which to at least start checking for doneness.
Fish will continue to cook for a minute or two off the heat. Be sure to stop cooking when the fish is just shy of done; otherwise, it will overcook by the time you serve it.
Use the tip of a small knife to peek at the interior of the fish. Many cookbooks tell you to cook fish until it flakes; this is too long. Once it flakes, the fish has lost too much moisture and will be dry and bland. As you peek, see how easily the fish gives way. It should gently resist flaking but show signs of firming.
Raw fish has a translucent appearance that turns opaque during cooking. Most types of fish are considered done when they’re just opaque throughout. Many people, however, enjoy some types of fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, a little less done. These should be opaque on the outside but still translucent at the center.”
Remember, if you don’t want to cook it in a day or two, pop it in the freezer and cook it later.
Recipes without wheat:
Pecan-crusted fluke (or flounder)
Baked flounder (or fluke) with fresh lemon pepper
Broiled fluke in lemon butter
Paleo blogger’s Pan-fried coconut fluke
Recipes using flour or breadcrumbs:
Baked fluke with parmesean crumbs from Food and Wine
Scandanavian-style pan-fried flounder with potatoes and parsley
Lidia Bastianich’s Italian preparation for Lemon Sole, which she has also made with fluke
Michael Symon’s Fluke Milanese
What did you make with your fluke?
Pistachio-crusted asparagus with feta
Mom loves asparagus and pistachios, so I whipped this up for Mother’s Day dinner. To go with, we had ginger-marinated pork tenderloin and roasted sweet potatoes with lime syrup and chives.
The recipe calls for a fair amount of feta; I was more judicious, per Mom’s taste. If you don’t eat cheese, just increase the salt in the pistachio mixture a bit and leave the cheese out. It’s still delicious.
The recipe comes originally from a cookbook called Handmade Gatherings, but I first saw it on Joy the Baker.
I didn’t make many adjustments to the recipe, other than ignoring the advice to pick “big boy” (thick) stalks. Thick asparagus is often woody and flavorless. I sorted through a large pile at the farmer’s market to find a pound or so of medium-to-thin asparagus that were mostly the same diameter, for uniformity of cooking time.
Pistachio-crusted asparagus with feta
For the Vinaigrette:
1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the asparagus and cut about an inch off of the stem ends. Pat the asparagus dry.
2. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 5 minutes to dry the asparagus completely. Remove from the oven and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.
3. Crush the pistachios in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment OR crush the pistachios in a sealed plastic bag using a hammer or kitchen mallet. Grind until fine. Transfer nuts to a small bowl and stir in salt. If your nuts are salted, use half the amount of salt.
4. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer. Generously spoon the pistachio mixture over the asparagus.
5. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender through. Test with a fork - make sure the thickest stalks are soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
6. To make the vinaigrette, in a small jar or bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Drizzle over the roasted asparagus just before serving. Top with feta and parsley and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Second recipe with this month’s CSA selection: monkfish. Quite easy, small number of ingredients, and yummy.
Monkfish in Tomato Garlic Sauce
Fish CSA, month 2: bacon-wrapped monkfish
Yesterday we received a gorgeous piece of monkfish from our Crossfit South Brooklyn fish CSA, Village Fishmonger.
My plan was to braise it in tomatoes, garlic and herbs, Provençal style. My research into monkfish preparation suggested strongly that cooking the fillets in liquid (whether tomatoes, white wine, butter, etc) was the preferred method. While “braising” might not be the best word here - braising indicates a LONG slow cook, and this fish doesn’t need to be cooked long like, say, a pot roast needs to be cooked long - it does convey the idea of plenty of flavorful liquid. Many other fishies can be roasted in the oven (or sauteed on the stovetop) without a ton of liquid, and provided you cook them the correct length of time, they won’t dry out. Monkfish is a bit meatier and certainly my fillet was quite thick - several inches. Hence the recommendations for a “wet” method.
I was thinking of using this recipe for monkfish in tomato garlic sauce, or this one for a slightly more complicated Spanish-style braise, and I also read this thread on Chowhound.
Armed with this knowledge, I came home with my monkfish and got out a can of Italian plum tomatoes, then opened my fridge for parsley.
I found an open package of Herondale Farm bacon.
I looked at this recipe and this one.
I changed my plan.
With half of my one-pound fillet, I used three strips of Herondale bacon, my personal pan-sized cast iron skillet, and some fresh thyme and oregano I happened to have in my fridge. If you don’t have fresh herbs, just leave them out.
Any oven-safe skillet can be used.
Why didn’t it dry out, you may ask, considering it’s not braised? Answer: the bacon fat keeps it moist.
Bacon-wrapped monkfish, adapted from Jamie Oliver
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Dry the fish and season it with pepper. The salt will come from the bacon. Chop whatever fresh herbs you may have and scatter them on the fish.
3. Lay a couple strips of bacon on a cutting board, slightly overlapping, put the fish herb-side down on it, and wrap the bacon around the fish. I used toothpicks to secure the bacon, pushing them almost the whole way into the fish so they didn’t stick out much.
4. Pour a small amount of olive oil in your pan and put the fish in, toothpick side down. Note: if you are using Herondale bacon, you only need a tiny film of olive oil, because the bacon will throw off a LOT. If you are using conventional bacon, you need more olive oil. If your pan is nonstick (but oven safe!) you might need hardly any at all.
5. Put the skillet over medium heat for a minute or two to crisp the bacon. Carefully flip it and repeat. Don’t keep it on the stove top too long.
6. Put the skillet in your preheated oven and cook it until the bacon is crisped and the fish is cooked through. Mine took between 10-15 minutes but it was a very thick fillet. Note again that Herondale bacon takes much longer to cook than conventional bacon. I also had to pour off some fat during the brief roasting process.
7. Remove the fish from the oven just before you think it’s completely done, remove it to a plate, and let it rest for 5 minutes.
8. When ready to serve, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the fish and enjoy.
Two Faces of Agriculture: Industrial vs Agroecology -
A crossfit gym with a groundbreaking CSA program (which I manage) explains why the CSA model makes sense.