Here’s my description of the contents of your box, and some suggestions on how to prepare them.
Mesclun/salad mix: This week we have radicchio leaves from a variety that is half red, round radicchio and half treviso radicchio, with the usual frilly red mustard, arugula, and baby lettuces. Please remember to wash and spin the green dry. The other half of your salad bag is filled with green and red little gems.
The bag of cooking greens is half filled with broccoli di cicco, and the other half is red chard. If you have some green garlic left from last week’s box, using it with the red chard leaves when you sauté them, then squeezing lemon juice on top as you serve it, will make you think you should have liked red chard all these years.
English peas are the signature item this week. With two pounds in the box, you will have enough to make a full dish, as opposed to merely decorating the plate with them. As I mentioned in the newsletter, these are grown by Louie Iacopi in cool, foggy Half Moon Bay, which is the best place I know to grow perfect english peas. The long but cool days of spring allow the peas to form in the pod slowly, so they can be fully formed without getting starchy. The easy, simple way to prepare them is to shuck them and cook them with a little butter, maybe a splash of white wine, with some of the spring onion in your box. At the very end, throw in some torn mint leaves, and serve. Nothing like poached salmon, or halibut, or your favorite fish with a side of peas. We will have them as a pantry item, so you can buy them in subsequent weeks in a 5lb. bag. This will allow you to make pea soup. Take the empty pods, after shucking them all and make a pea pod veggie stock. Then sauté some spring onions, throw in the peas, and cook gently for a few minutes, being careful not to overcook them. You can add some butter to mellow the flavor, puree with your immersion blender, and add torn mint leaves at the very end. Maybe a squeeze of lemon juice, to add some acidity.
Your main herb in the box this week is flowering cilantro, or coriander. I love this for making rice, where you cut it up coarsely, and add it to the water before cooking. You can save some of the white flower clusters to garnish your dish at the end. These are flowers with flavor, not just cuteness. It’s also great to marinade pork, fish, or chicken. Hopefully you will notice that it has its own flavor profile, somewhere between dried coriander and fresh cilantro.
The mixed citrus is some combination of red grapefruit, oro blanco grapefruit, navel oranges, tangelos, blood oranges, lemons, gold nugget mandarin, all grown by Bernard Ranch in Riverside. You are getting 2lb. instead of the usual 3lb. to make room for the very first stone fruit of the year. There will be one yellow nectarine in the box from Balakian Farms. Certified organic, their stone fruit will be a rotating fruit for the next few months, and it might be a yellow or white nectarine, or a yellow or white peach, depending on which one I think is particularly good that week.
Please note that substitutions to the box do happen and you may not receive every item listed. When we run out of an item, we replace it with another or increase the quantity of existing ones.