Your box contains the following items.
- 1/2lb. green & red little gems
- 1 head each red & lusia radicchio
- 1/2lb. spinach
- 2lb. mixed red & yellow potatoes
- 1 head celery root
- 1 head cardoons
- 1 head romanesco
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1lb. mixed peppers
- 1 bunch French breakfast radishes
- 1lb. valencias/limes
Yes, it’s been way too long since I last wrote the box flyer. Too many heat waves, smoky days, election freak-outs, irrigation and tractor issues are my excuses. We had a couple of changes from what Monday’s newsletter said was in the box, so that seemed a perfect reason to get back in the habit. Instead of carrots, you have a head of romanesco cauliflower. And, instead of Italian parsley, there’s a bunch of French breakfast radishes.
Since you’ve been getting lots of potatoes of late, I want to suggest trying to salt bake the smaller round red and yellow ones, with a few ruby crescents or Austrian crescents. After washing them and letting them dry, put them in a pyrex pan, aluminum pan with at least two inch sides, or a ceramic baking dish. Make sure you fill the pan with one layer of potatoes, as close together as possible. Take a box of kosher salt and spread it all over until all you see is white, with the little bumps like moguls on a ski run. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Feel free to poke a knife or fork in one at 25-30 minutes, and if nicely soft, they are ready. They are not salty cooked this way. They retain much of their moisture and flavor this way. I like to dig them out while hot, dust off most but not all the salt, and have butter, sour cream, aioli, fresh goat cheese to eat with them. You can also slice them in half and toss with chives and butter, or whatever is your favorite potato accompaniment. The salt is reusable many times, so when it cools just put it in a plastic bag for future use. I like to make this dish for friends, as when they see you put all that salt, they might freak out and think you’re trying to kill them, then when they get to eat one they quickly forgive you and understand you’re doing something special.
The head of celery root needs to have all the brown skin cut away, until all you see is the white flesh. I like to cut half inch circles, then cut the disks into half inch cubes. You can do the same with some potatoes, and roast them all together in a roasting pan in the oven. Olive oil, salt, pepper, and let the flavor of the celery root shine all on its own.
Cardoons are in the artichoke family, but you cook and eat the stalks like they were celery. Cut the base of the head so all the stalks are free and you can wash the dirt and critters that often hang out at the base of the plant. The bottom 7-9 inches is usually the best part, with the top of the stalks being more stringy. Cut into 4-5 inch pieces, boil in lots of water with salt and a little vinegar or a lemon or lime cut in two. I like to squeeze the juice then throw in the lemon halves to flavor the cardoons. They should be soft in 12-20 minutes, depending on how thick or tender the stalks are. This is just like you would cook artichokes. When they are done let them cool. You can slice them into 1/8-1/4 inch slices, and use them in pastas, mix them into a potato salad, or deep fried like artichokes. Here’s a link to give you a visual and more descriptions of how to prepare them.
Romanesco is an arguably better tasting cauliflower. I like to snap off the spirals from the center, and sauté them with peppers and onions. Olive oil, salt and pepper is all you need. Don’t cook them too long, as they retain their flavor with a little firmness.
Since we are now into the fall/winter chicory season, you should consider making a blue cheese lemon zest vinaigrette with your red and lusia radicchios. Zest a lemon into a small container, then put about ¼-1/3 cup olive oil. If you have the time, let it sit for 10-20 minutes so the olive oil can absorb some of the lemon flavor. Then add red wine vinegar and lemons juice in equal parts, and salt and pepper. Crumble the blue cheese and whisk until it’s to your desired smoothness. You may want to add more olive oil, or more cheese, depending on how big your pile of radicchio is. Croutons or toasted walnuts are a nice addition as you are tossing everything together.