Friday, December 11, 2009

CSA Week 2 - Midnight in the Garden

It has been a pretty uneventful week with my CSA share so far, in part because I've barely been home to do any cooking. As a result I am sharing with you a "recipe" for what really amounts to a midnight fridge raid.

After getting home a couple nights ago after midnight without having had any dinner yet, I was thrilled to find that Mrs. F had cooked off the red chard and dandelion greens. My reconstruction (a strong hunch based on the usual methodology for greens in our house) is that she sauteéd off some sliced onion in olive oil, added the roughly chopped greens to the pan with a bit of their water still clinging to the leaves, wilted them till they were tender, and added some pistachios and some dried cherries (plumped first in some warm water).

There was also some leftover steak from Las Vacas Gordas from the night before (I am fairly certain you can reconstruct about 50% of an entire cow from the parrillada there), and one of my favorite leftover vehicles, tandoori naan bread (made by Fabulous Flats and available at your local grocer - this is an unpaid and unsolicited endorsement, I just really love slapping almost anything on top of them and calling it a meal).

I popped the naan bread in the toaster oven to heat up, popped the steak and the greens into a sauté pan to warm through, topped the bread with the greens, then sliced the steak and - voilà - dinner.

It seems some people found their dandelion greens too bitter. I didn't find this at all. Not sure if it's because they were mixed with the chard, but there was enough dandelion to make their presence known if they were that bitter. I note that both of the links to other sites mention blanching the dandelion greens before sauteéng them, a step we never bother with in our household. I can't imagine why blanching would contibute to bitterness, I've just never understood why it's necessary as I find that pretty much all greens will soften just fine in a sauté pan with a tiny bit of water on them (throw a lid on top for a few minutes which will steam them if they need it).

1 comment:

  1. The blanching is supposed to leach the bitterness out. Some recipes even call for changing the water a couple times.

    But I tasted my blanching water afterward and it only had good greens flavors in it which must have unmasked the bitterness left in the leaves. They were pretty intense when the ones I just sautéed were fine, but, like yours, they were well mixed with other greens.

    Maybe I just needed to blanch longer. Most recipes don't specify a time but those that do range between 'briefly' and 'six minutes'. A couple say that bitterness in dandelion greens varies so taste and then judge the time needed.

    Next time we get a batch of bitter greens, I'm going to try a few variations and do a double-blinded taste test.