This week we have a special guest post by Mi Ae Lipe, author of Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook. She shares a great recipe with us, and we will have one more upcoming post featuring a delicious dish you will want to try. (Click HERE to go back to part 1)
Be sure to visit her website www.bountyfromthebox.com and give her page a “like” on Facebook
To keep lettuce fresher longer, wash and dry romaine and leaf lettuce thoroughly before storing. Wrap the greens in paper towels or in a clean kitchen towel, then place in plastic bags. Seal the bags tightly and keep in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. Periodically check the bags and replace any damp towels. Butter lettuces, on the other hand, should not be washed before storing.
If you find yourself preparing a lot of lettuce or other salad greens, a salad spinner can be quite useful in removing excess moisture before serving. Salad greens should always be thoroughly dry before being dressed; otherwise the salad may end up becoming a watery mess.
If you do not have a salad spinner, placing greens in an empty pillowcase bound with a rubber band and running it in the laundry dryer for a few minutes with the heat off can be quite effective, or even swinging it around your head for a couple of minutes (the pillowcase, not the dryer). The trick to preventing bruised greens is not to pack too many greens inside the pillowcase.
Lettuce and other salad greens should not be stored next to apples or other fruits that emit ethylene gas, which will hasten spoilage and cause brown spots.
If you find a head or two of romaine lettuce in your CSA box, did you know that you can cook it? It may sound a little odd, but cooked lettuce is actually very popular in some Asian cultures—stir-fried iceberg lettuce, for instance, is very trendy in Hong Kong restaurants. This beautiful recipe, courtesy of Sang Lee Farms in Peconic, New York, involves grilling the romaine and serving it with poached eggs and homemade Green Goddess dressing:
Grilled Romaine with Poached Eggs and Green Goddess Dressing
Enjoy this novel dish as a complete lunch or dinner. If you don’t have time to make the poached eggs, just prepare the lettuce and other vegetables as your salad on the side.
- 4 eggs, poached (see Cooking Note below)
- 2 large heads romaine lettuce
- 5 scallions (green onions)
- 1 bunch radishes, preferably French-style
- 1 large or 2 small kohlrabi bulbs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Green Goddess Dressing (see recipe below)
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds
- Poach the eggs per the Cooking Note below and hold them in a bowl of cold water until needed.
- Thoroughly wash all of the vegetables. Trim part of the bottoms off the romaine heads (but not too far up because you want them to stay intact as heads). Cut the heads in half lengthwise, then gently wash them on the inside and between the leaves.
- Finely chop the scallions and radishes and put them in a medium bowl. Cut the leaves off the kohlrabi and peel the bulb using a sharp vegetable peeler or knife. You should end up with a pure white, round bulb. Slice it into quarters, then cut each piece into very thin slices. Mix the kohlrabi with the other vegetables and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, plus the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Lightly drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper over the romaine heads. Prepare your grill and lay them open, cut side down, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are charred and slightly wilted. Flip them over and do the same on the other side. Set aside.
- Put the chopped vegetables that were set aside into a grill pan (or something metal with small holes). Grill for 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat. This step is optional, as the vegetables are delicious raw as well—this just softens them a bit.
- Reheat the poached eggs by slipping them into a pan of simmering water for several minutes.
- To assemble the salad, place one of the romaine halves cut side up, add some of the vegetable slices, and then top with an egg. Drizzle with the Green Goddess Dressing and sprinkle with some toasted pine nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Cooking Note: To poach the eggs, bring a deep-sided saucepan filled three-quarters full with water to a low simmer. Make sure it never fully boils. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (any kind) to the pot to prevent the eggs from running. Crack open each egg one at a time into a separate bowl and then slide the egg into the pan. Cook each egg for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the whites set but the yellow is still runny. Remove them with a slotted spoon and hold them in a bowl of cold water until you’re ready to reheat and serve them.
Green Goddess Dressing
Makes 4 cups
You will have more than enough dressing from this recipe, so feel free to halve it if you want just enough for this meal. If you make the full amount, it will go great on your salads all week!
- 8 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
- 5 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (any type you prefer)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1½ cups mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
Place all of the ingredients except the mayonnaise and sour cream into a food processor. Blend until creamy, then add the mayo and sour cream. Taste and add any spices or additional herbs that suit your fancy. If the dressing is too thick, you can add a tablespoon of milk to thin it out.
More recipes are available in my book, Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, available from www.bountyfromthebox.com. (And don’t forget, as a Forsythe Farms CSA member, to enter the promo code FSY15 when ordering to get 15% off the book!) While you’re on the website, check out our recipe section, read our blog, and browse our extensive resource directory, which has links to everything from gardening resources to our favorite kitchen products.