Your box this week contains the following items, give or take any subs as the week goes on.
- red butter lettuce and red little gems
- mesclun mix
- green chard
- broccoli rabe leaves
- spring onions
- flowering coriander
- French breakfast radishes
- chantenay carrots
- mixed citrus
- white/yellow peaches
We are back with a heat wave. Please take care to refrigerate all the salad and cooking greens as soon as possible. The radishes, spring onions, and bouquet of flowering coriander also would like to stay cold. I recommend putting the peaches on your kitchen counter to fully ripen over the next day or three. When it’s fully ripe and soft is when you will most enjoy it.
We put an extra dose of salad and cooking greens in the box this week because we have a lot in the field, but also because I find them soothing and refreshing in times like these.
The broccoli rabe leaves are a favorite of mine, as it means orecchiette pasta with rabe and sweet Italian sausage. This dish is from Southern Italy, and your Tuscan friends will sneer at the idea of this being a respectable pasta. That’s partly because of its history. It was originally a pasta dish for poor people, with scraps of pasta dough, wild mustard greens foraged from the fields, and throw away scraps of pork as the main ingredients, made by and for the servants. You can make a refined version that tastes hardy and I think delicious. When you first boil your pasta water, blanch all the rabe leaves quickly, 20-30 seconds, then set aside. Take 1-2 sweet Italian sausages, and squeeze out the meat from the casing into your sauté pan, so that it’s in ¾ inch chunks. Cook with medium high heat, so you get a nice browning. Put your dried orecchiette pasta shells in the salted, boiling water. At the last minute, add to the sausage 3-4 cloves chopped garlic, extra fennel seed if you have some handy (I personally think there’s never enough in the sausage, so l like to add some more), chili flakes, and the rabe leaves. Add more olive oil, and white wine if you have some handy. You can squeeze a half of a lemon for acidity, and add some pasta water to make it slightly soupy. When the pasta is done add it to the sauce, and let it simmer for another minute or two. Serve with some grated romano/pecorino cheese.
Chantenay carrots are a French variety that I like a lot. They are a more dense or meaty carrot, and not just because they are fat and short. Roasted, sauteed, steamed, they will need a little more time to cook but they have a lovely mouth feel and flavor. I hope you enjoy them.
I said this before, but the best thing to do with the flowering coriander is to put some chopped up in the pot of rice before you cook it. I like to also add a couple of cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of butter, in addition to the green coriander. Also use as a marinade for chicken or pork.