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Recipes for CSA Week 6

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New potatoes and dill are a wonderful combination, as are favas and dill. I’m not giving you any potato recipes since they are just so delicious no matter what you do with them—roasted, boiled for salads,. . . add butter and herbs and little minced garlic or add them to a simple frittata or curry. You can’t go wrong. And you got lots of spinach ideas last week!

Fava beans are an annual treat. There are three recipes for them this week in addition to notes about general cooking techniques. Enjoy them while they last. And speaking of “lasting” as I imagine you’ve observed, the tender leafy greens and herbs need to be used first (though dill tends to be a good keeper when sealed in a bag in the fridge) where as things like turnips, beets, and potatoes keep well. So this week be sure to use your spinach in the first half of the week and read about and lettuce storage (see lettuce management below) to make the most of it. There’s nothing worse than finding a gorgeous bag of spinach turning to slime in the fridge.

Fava Bean Notes
Fava Bean Burgers
Fava Bean Bruschetta with Ricotta
Favas with Yogurt and Dill
Soft Boiled Egg with Spinach on Toast & Other Variations
Japanese Turnips with Miso
Lettuce Management and Salad Variations

Fava Bean Notes

There are three primary cooking techniques:

1. Shell and blanch and peel: Shell the beans, removing them from their their squishy pods and then blanch the beans in boiling water for 2-4 minutes or so and then pinch the skin off each individual bean. (I often split up the prepping, shelling the beans right when I get them and then cooking them later and pinching them out of their skins. This method results in delicious, tender, bright green beans and you can eat them as is with some olive oil and salt, add them to pasta or risotto or soup, etc. Or you can use the Middle Eastern method described below where you cook them in heavily salted water in their big, squishy pods and don’t shell each bean. It’s much less work and also delicious though a very different kind of dish. Experiment and see what you like.

2. Grill the whole pods and if they’re quite young and tender you can eat the beans, pods and all or if a bit larger, shell them at this point and enjoy them without further removal of the skin around each bean.

3. Cook the whole pods in heavily salted boiling water (Iranian method detailed in the recipe below and then drain and shell. Again with this method there is no need to peel the individual beans.

Fava Bean Burgers
–adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

These are a little bit of work but so, so good and they deliciously combine three share ingredients this week.

Serves 4

½ lb spinach (the amount a half share gets), washed
3 tablespoons olive oil
About 2 ½ -3 cups shelled fava beans
3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small dice
1 small Serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped (optional – can use 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes instead)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons chopped dill (or cilantro—the original recipe calls for cilantro but dill is a great substitute)
6 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
Olive, sunflower or grapeseed oil for frying

Wilt the spinach in a hot pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out any liquid, then chop roughly and set aside.

Blanch shelled fava beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and run under cold water and pinch skins of beans.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and put into a large mixing bowl. Immediately add the fava beans, spices, chile, garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Use a potato masher to mash it all up roughly; don’t worry if some beans are not totally crushed. You can alternatively quickly pulse in food processor.

Next, add the spinach, chopped dill (or cilantro) and breadcrumbs. Taste to check the seasoning. Lastly, mix in the egg.

Wet your hands and shape the mix into fat patties that are roughly 2 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. Chill them for at least half an hour.

To cook, heat up the oil and pan fry the burgers on high or medium high heat for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Serve warm, with lemony yogurt sauce.

1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon good olive oil
about 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Stir the above ingredients together and dollop on the burgers.

Bruschetta with Ricotta and Fava Beans

Favas on toast with ricotta

This is a beautiful and delicious dish. And it’s a nice way to stretch those precious beans that always seem so few after you’ve shelled them.

Shell enough favas to measure 1 ½ cups of beans and cook them in salted boiling water for about 5-6 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pinch the skins off each bean and set beans aside.

1 ½ cups cooked, shelled fava beans (see above)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ an onion, diced finely
1 slice bacon, diced (optional)
2/3 cup whole milk ricotta (Calabro is a good brand)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
A bit of grated lemon zest from about ¼ of a lemon (you just want a little, just to give a stronger hint of lemon)
Good bread, thickly sliced and toasted

In a medium skillet cook the bacon in a little olive oil with the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes until the bacon is rendered and the onion is softening. Add the cooked, shelled fava beans and a few pinches of salt and cook for about 3 minutes to marry the flavors.

Meanwhile, toast some slices of good, crusty bread. Spread the toast with ricotta and top with the fava bean mixture.

Fava Beans with Dill and Yogurt

Serves ~4 as a side

A local farmer (Carol Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm) taught me about this method of cooking fava beans which eliminates the time consuming step of peeling each individual bean. This is a Persian/Iranian way of cooking favas that is not only easy but also very nutritious since many of the nutrients are in the fava bean skins. This dish is also good with parsley, basil, mint or cilantro or a combination.

2 pounds fava beans in their pods (or however much you have)
2-3 tablespoons kosher salt (yes, this is the right quantity, not a misprint)
1/3 cup Greek yogurt or plain, whole milk yogurt (or more if you want it saucier)
1/3 cup finely chopped dill (or other herbs—see headnote)
1 -2 teaspoons lemon juice (to taste)
Zest of one lemon, finely grated
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoons olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a six-quart (or larger) pot of water, to which you’ve added the salt, to a boil. Put the whole fava bean pods into the boiling water and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat so the water stays at a rapid simmer and cook covered, until the pods start falling apart, between 20 and 30 minutes. Taste an individual fava bean after 20 or so minutes. If the skin on the bean is still a little tough keep cooking. If you have the time you can let the fava beans cool in the water once they’re tender. That further softens the skins. If not, drain off of the hot water fill pot of beans with cold water to speed the cooling. Remove beans from pods without peeling each bean. The skin should be tender and the beans perfectly seasoned. Toss beans with the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Enjoy as a side dish or with crusty bread or tossed with cold pasta for a hearty salad.

Fava beans cooked this way (and without the dressing) are delicious with pasta and a bit of Parmesan, with boiled potatoes and parsley. I’ve added them to Israeli couscous with some mint and grated, hard cheese.

Soft Boiled Egg with Spinach on Toast & Other Variations
–inspired by smittenkitchen.com

With this hot weather I’m cooking as little as possible and doing as much assembly and quick prep dishes as I can. This falls in that category. Adjust the quantity to see your needs.

4 eggs
½ lb of spinach (the amount a half share gets), well washed
4 slices of good, crusty bread
1 clove garlic, minced
½ onion, minced (optional)
Butter or olive oil
Dijon-style mustard (optional)

Gently cook the garlic and onion in a little butter or olive oil until softened but not colored. Add the spinach and cook for just a minute or two until wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Lower the eggs into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes at a rapid boil. If your eggs are medium-sized this will give you a perfectly soft boiled egg, in my opinion, which is a runny yolk and whites that are just set but not rubbery. By all mean cook them 30 seconds longer or another minute if they are very large eggs or you like them firmer. Remove eggs from the boiling water. Rinse briefly in cold water.

Toast the bread. Spread each slice with just a little mustard (if you’re using it) or a little butter or a drizzle of good olive oil and divide the spinach between the slices.

Peel the eggs and top each toast with an egg and break it open and roughly chop it up so it spread out over the bread. Season liberally with salt and pepper and dig in!

Variations:

Skip the spinach and top the toast with the egg and a generous sprinkling of chopped dill, a few capers and some minced onion.

Japanese Turnips with Miso
–adapted from Gourmet

This recipe is written to use the full 3lbs a full share member will be getting, but the recipe is easily halved so if you just have 1 ½ lbs by all means still make it.

2 1/2 tablespoons white miso
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
3 pounds turnips, scrubbed and trimmed. You likely don’t need to peel them but taste and see if the skin is at all fibrous or tough and peel if it is.
generous 1 cup water
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
¼ lb spinach or lettuce, well washed and roughly chopped (about 4-6 cups packed)

Stir together miso and 2 tablespoon butter.

Halve or quarter the turnips and put in a large heavy skillet along with water, mirin, remaining tablespoon butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then boil, covered, about 10-12 minutes.

Add greens by handfuls, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more as volume in skillet reduces. Cover and cook 1 minute. Uncover and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until turnips are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Stir in miso butter and cook 1 more minute.

Lettuce Management

Staying on top of lettuce takes a little work. It’s completely worth it but here are a few tricks/methods I employ to keep things interesting on the salad front. . and keep those beautiful heads from going slimy and brown.

Washing and storing:

If you’re having a hard time staying on top of the lettuce, wash enough for two big salads soon after you pick up your share. My preferred way to store the washed lettuce is rolled up in clean, dishtowels. This is actually my preferred drying technique and it stores well that way, or a couple of days. You can put the rolled up lettuce-filled towels in a plastic bag and store in the fridge.

Crunchy additions:

Keep sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds, and/or walnuts or hazelnuts on hand. Pumpkin seeds take just a few minutes to toast in a dry skillet and sunflower seeds toast best in a 300 degree oven with some salt and olive oil. Walnuts and hazelnuts toast well in an oven—no salt or oil needed—as well. And they all add so much to salads.

If you have a slice or two of nice crusty bread that needs using you can toast it and then tear it into little pieces and add it your salad for a little chew and heft.

Dressing variations:

Add a couple of teaspoons of mayo (homemade or store bought) or Greek yogurt to a typical vinaigrette made with a little Dijon-style mustard, red wine vinegar or lemon juice, and a little good olive oil, s & p for a slightly creamier dressing. Dress your lettuce with this, add ½ cup of toasted sunflower seeds and some thinly sliced onions and you’re in business.

Add ground cumin, lime or lemon zest and some red pepper flakes to a typical vinaigrette or the creamy version above.

Add a couple of tablespoons of smashed avocado to your dressing. Lime or lemon juice and some minced garlic is a good combination for this one.

Fruity additions:

Add chopped sweet cherries, sliced strawberries or blueberries to your green salads. If you have a little goat cheese or feta, that would be a good combo as well.

 

 

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