I cook the crap out of broccoli and I don’t care
Members of the Sol Flower Farm vegetable CSA were rewarded this week with huge heads of snappy fresh broccoli.
For many years, I ate all my vegetables, but especially the cruciferous ones, cooked al dente (at best.)
After a trip to Italy, spent mostly eating in various proletarian restaurants in the non-tourist sections of Rome, I realized how misguided I’d been. One notable evening, I was taken to a restaurant where you could buy a ticket to the antipasti table, with your plate in hand, to keep yourself busy while your entree was prepared.
All the Italians in the restaurant visited the table once, then sat down, ate leisurely, and 20 minutes later welcomed big platters of protein.
I, on the other hand, was so amazed by the vegetables on the table that I went back again and again. All were perfectly seasonal and, like all Italian vegetables, local. All appeared to have been cooked the same manner: a long time. They were then dressed with a lot of olive oil and a splash of white vinegar.
They were incredible. I ate so much that I remember barely touching my beautiful seafood entree.
Fast forward a few years and I find that not only do I prefer well-cooked vegetables, they definitely prefer me.
Since the trip, I dug back into my old copies of Marcella Hazan’s Italian cookbooks and realized she had been advocating this type of preparation for a long time. As with most things, she’s right.
With last night’s broccoli, I cut it into same-sized florets, brought a big stock pot of heavily salted water to boil, and then cooked the bright green out of the broccoli (15 minutes, roughly, but that’s based on how much I had in the pot.)
After straining and running cold water over it, I let it drain a nice long time, then spooned it into a container to eat the rest of the week at room temperature. It’s good with olive oil and vinegar as a side dish, and excellent in a green salad, where it contrasts nicely with other, crispier vegetables.
Many other green vegetables benefit from this kind of treatment; broccoli rabe and green beans come to mind.
There are many ways to cook green vegetables, even sulfurous ones, even longer than 15 minutes. Here are some good places to start, and here’s a nice article from Saveur on the practice.
*photo from crankingkitchen.wordpress.com
Whatcha gonna do with all those carrots?
I love the tender carrots from our Sol Flower Farm CSA! Having eaten several bunches raw, however, I was ready for a different preparation.
Tonight I’ll be making this recipe, oven roasted carrot salad with feta cheese. Looks great, right? Oh, that photo is not mine; it’s courtesy Serious Eats, just like this recipe.
Oven-roasted carrot salad with feta cheese, adapted from Serious Eats
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with foil and coat lightly with some oil or fat. Add carrots, olive oil, vinegar, and honey. Season lightly with salt and generously with pepper and toss to combine. Transfer to oven to roast, stirring periodically, until edges are starting to char and carrots are softened but still have some crunch, about 25 minutes.
2. Remove from oven, toss with lemon juice and let cool to room temperature. Add feta, season with additional cracked black pepper, toss and serve.
What are you going to make with your Village Fishmonger tuna this week? —
Me, I’m doing this: Seared tuna with mango salsa.
I’ve been in love with mango for a long time, but a weekend in Puerto Rico this spring eating them fresh off the tree really fueled my obsession. Looking forward to making this!
Anonymous said: Yo Mig. What'd you do with those flat korean short ribs? -Ben
Honestly, saving them to grill, Korean-style. They’re too thin to braise like thick-cut short ribs. Want a grill recipe?
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.