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Recipes for CSA Week 24

I’m a bit of broken record, always wanting to start with “You’re in for more treats this week!” well it’s true—Celeriac (celery root) and Pan di Zucchero are both definite treats. Enjoy!

Bruschetta with Stewed Leeks and Goat Cheese
Pan di Zucchero Notes
Pan di Zucchero Caesar Salad
Roasted Delicata Squash
Stuffed Delicata Squash Slices
Calabrian Fried Potatoes and Peppers
Celeriac Soup
Warm Celeriac and Lentil Salad

Bruschetta with Stewed Leeks and Goat Cheese

Serves 4 as a side or appetizer or 2 as a main

You can serve this as a hearty appetizer or first course or even as dinner with a big salad on the side. If you don’t have goat cheese on hand, feta would work too or even just cream cheese. Quantities are approximate and feel free to make less or more depending on what you have on hand and/or want to use up. This dish is not a dish eaten with grace so have the napkins close by and have at it!

2-3 medium to large leeks (cut off only the top couple of inches that are tough and scruffy. Most of the green part is great to eat)
5 slices of rustic bread (like Grand Central Bakery Como, Peasant Levain, Potato bread, or any crusty loaf)
4-5 ounces soft goat cheese
3 hard-boiled eggs (chopped)
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme, minced or crumbled (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
Olive oil
Chopped parsley and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for garnish (optional)

Clean leeks well and cut in half lengthwise then cut into ½ inch half-rounds. Heat butter and a good splash of olive oil in a large sauté pan over med/high heat. Add the leeks when the butter is melted and oil is hot. Stir well to coat, salt generously with a couple of large pinches of kosher salt. Add thyme and stir well. Cook for a few minutes uncovered, then turn the heat down a bit and cover. Check occasionally to make sure the leeks aren’t browning or burning. Add a splash of water if they start to stick and turn the heat down a bit more. Cook for about 15 minutes until leeks are meltingly tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, toast the bread and hard-boil the eggs and peel and chop those. Spread the goat cheese on the bread, arrange stewed leeks on cheese, sprinkle with egg, salt and a couple of grinds of pepper and drizzle a little good olive oil over the whole thing. Sprinkle with parsley and drizzle with balsamic vinegar if you’d like. Again, there is no way to eat this delicately. They make a mess, the toppings fall off. . .. no matter.

Pan di Zucchero Notes

Pan di zucchero is a chicory, not as strong as radicchio and the name means sugar loaf in Italian. It’s a bit like a denser version of escarole. It’s crisp and sweet and complex and a definite treat. You can use like Romaine for a Caesar like salad (I’ve included my recipe for that here again).

It also takes well to braising with a little broth and/or white wine and some thinly sliced garlic and salt and pepper.

You can also grill it, cut into wedges and brushed generously with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Then you can serve it with thinly sliced pears or apples and a soft, pungent cheese like gorgonzola or other blues or feta or goat cheese even. Delicious! For even more decadence add some diced, rendered bacon or prosciutto.

Pan di Zucchero Caesar Salad

Serves 4-6 depending on appetites and what else is being served

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4-5 flat anchovy filets (or more to taste)
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
Freshly grated black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
1 head (or only part of one if they’re huge) pan di zucchero, washed, leaves cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1 1/2 inch ribbons
¾ – 1 cup croutons or toast a slice or two of good crusty bread and tear it into bite-sized pieces

You can either use a food processor or a mortar and pestle. If using the latter, put the garlic, anchovy, pepper and salt in it and pound it into a smooth-ish paste. Scoop the paste out of the mortar and put it into a bowl. Then whisk in the lemon juice and egg yolk and then slowly add the oil and finally the Parmesan. If using a food processor start with the garlic, anchovy, lemon juice and salt and then add the ingredients in the same order. Stir the parmesan at the end after you’ve removed the dressing from the processor.

Toss with pan di zucchero, top with croutons and some more freshly grated Parmesan.

Roasted Delicata Squash Slices

Because you don’t have to peel delicate squash you can make this simple side dish with very little active time. These crispy slices are addictive. You can play with the spices or use just salt—both are wonderful. And by all means come up with your own combinations.

Fry or poach a couple of eggs, toss some pan di zucchero with a simple vinaigrette and have yourself a lovely little supper.

1-2 delicata squash, halved lengthwise scraped clean and cut into ¼ -1/2 inch thick slices (the thinner the crisper but thicker and meatier is excellent too)
Olive oil
Salt
Ground cumin
Touch of cayenne

Preheat oven to 425

Toss the slices with olive oil and the spices in a large bowl. Spread the slices out evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn over and bake for about 10 more minutes. Test for doneness. You can run them under the broiler at the end if you want more color and crispness.

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Chorizo (or Mushrooms)

In this recipe the squash gets baked first and then filled which speeds up the process a bit. Serve with a grated carrot salad for a very orange dinner!

2 delicata squash, halved and seeded
1/2 cup bulgur
4 ounces manchego or Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
3 ounces cured chorizo, chopped (or sautéed mushrooms)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Heat oven to 450° F. Place the squash halves cut-side down in a baking dish, add ¼ inch water, cover with foil, and bake until almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add bulgur and cook for 2 minutes. Take off heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Drain any excess water. In a bowl, combine the bulgur, manchego or cheddar, chorizo (or sautéed mushrooms), parsley, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Turn the squash halves cut-side up and, dividing evenly, fill with the bulgur mixture. Bake until the filling is warmed through and the manchego is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Carrot Salad with Toasted Seeds

I love grated carrot salads in the cooler months and vary them endlessly. Last night I added grated raw quince from quince on my very own tree. It was delicious!

About 4 medium to large carrots (or however much you want), grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons parsley, cilantro or mint, finely chopped
2 scallions thinly sliced (optional)
1/3 cup toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons honey (or powdered sugar)
4 tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Calabrian Fried Potatoes and Peppers

This was one of my very favorite things to eat when I lived in Calabria (the toe of the Italian boot) more than 20 years ago. It doesn’t really get any simpler but you need to be brave with the heat and have good ventilation.

3 sweet red peppers, washed, cored and seeded and cut into chunks about 1 ½ – 2 1/3 inches
3-4 medium potatoes, well scrubbed (no need to peel) and cut into bite-sized chunks.
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

Heat the oil in the largest, heaviest skillet you have. When it’s hot but not smoking add the peppers and potatoes and toss well to coat with oil. Cook on high heat, stirring frequently until the both potatoes and peppers are tender and almost blackened around the edges. Season liberally with good sea salt. Serve hot.

Celeriac Soup

–adapted from www.davidlebovitz.com

8-10 Servings

This is delicious, elegant and easy to make. If your celeriac is smaller or you want to make a smaller batch just adjust everything accordingly.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced (or 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped)
Sea salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
One large celeriac (about 3-pounds), peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken or veggie stock
3 cups water
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
Scant 1/8 teaspoon chile powder

In a large pot, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion (or leeks) and cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic cloves and season with salt, and continue to cook until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent.

Add the celery root and stock. (Or use all water.) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer. Cook, with the lid to the pot ajar on top, until the celery root pieces are soft and easily pierced with a paring knife, about forty-five minutes.

Add pepper and chile powder, then purée using an immersion blender, or let the soup cool to a bit and whiz in a blender until smooth. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. If the soup is too thick, it can be thinned with water or stock.

You can vary the soup by adding some pieces of crisp bacon as a garnish or a dollop of sour cream or some heavy cream can be stirred in. Chives or parsley would be a nice garnish. But a nice drizzle of good olive oil is perfect too.

Celeriac and Lentil Salad
–adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

This dish is substantial enough to make a light main course. The earthy flavors of the nuts and the lentils are balanced by the sharpness of the vinegar and the fresh mint. Don’t skimp on the salt – lentils need a lot of it. You can serve this warm at room temperature.

Serves 4

1/3 cup hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped (optional but very good)
1 cup small French green lentils
(these hold up well when cooked and are thus good for salads—don’t use the larger, brown lentils as they’ll get too mushy)
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into ¾-inch x 1/4 –inch chips
(more or less)
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped (can use parsley instead. I haven’t tried it with dill but you might experiment with a small bowl of it and see if it works)

Put the lentils, water, bay leaves and thyme sprigs in a small saucepan. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but a bit al dente, then drain in a sieve. Remove and discard the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring plenty of salted water to a boil, drop in the celeriac, along, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.

In a large bowl, mix the hot lentils (make sure they don’t cool down – lentils soak up flavors much better when they’re hot) with the olive oil, the vinegar, a few grinds of black pepper and plenty of salt. Add the celeriac, stir, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the mint and hazelnuts and stir again.

 

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