Sunday, March 31, 2013

CSA Weeks 10-14 and their Uses

So after confessing to my negligence in reporting on the disposition of my CSA shares, I promptly went silent for another month. But sometimes, what else is there to say other than "Look at those tomatoes!"

Well, maybe there's a little bit more to say. Even a recipe of sorts.

One of the dilemmas I've faced in effectively using our CSA share is that sometimes we get a plethora of some items, and for others there's not enough to go around. For weeks we'd been bullish on cutting celery, whereas one head of fennel won't go very far. How to address this imbalance? Make soup.

I took a fat bunch of cutting celery (which is more leaf than stalk, but has a stronger, more focused flavor than the customary type), a head of fennel, a handful of spring onions, and roughly chopped and sautéed them in some butter. To add some body I also threw in some jicama that had been hanging around since Week 11. My thinking is that I wanted something in the family of a vichysoisse, but that wouldn't taste or feel too heavy. After the vegetables had softened some, I added a generous dash of celery seeds, and about 8 cups of water to simmer for about 45 minutes.

Then I puréed it in a blender in batches, cooled it in the fridge, salted to taste, and added some plain Greek yogurt to give it a bit of richness and tang. Served it cold with an extra dollop of  yogurt, garnished with a nasturtium leaf and petal (also from the CSA), and - this really did the trick - a generous sprinkle of yuzu shichimi, which played well with the floral, peppery nasturtium and brightened all the other flavors.

Some people actively hate celery, while most others just don't really see the point. I actually like the stuff. I don't think this soup will make any converts out of the haters or even the agnostics, but if you actually enjoy that pointed beam of clean, green, vegetal celery flavor, you may find some pleasure in this soup.

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