Farmers’ Market Day – June 18, 2011
June 19, 2011
I love the Boulder Farmers’ Market. There are a ton of booths with wonderful produce and locally produced food, some great local places in the food court, and it’s got a fun, friendly feeling. I’ve even had some conversations with complete strangers about food. Today’s score consisted of the following: Garlic scapes, onion scapes, arugula, baby lettuce, spinach, broccoli raab, chocolate mint, Pappardelle’s basil garlic pasta and Street Fare fig-gruyere, chocolate-pistachio and key lime mini cupcakes.
Pappardelle’s is a Denver-based artisanal pasta company that sells to restaurants, hotels, and at local farmers’ markets. They have a huge array of loose pasta in their stand which you order by weight. I’m always hard-pressed to decide which kind I want to try next, they are all so gorgeous looking. Street Fare is a great concept – the kitchen at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless gets put to use during what would otherwise be downtime to make great mini cupcakes. The first set I bought at this stand were absolutely exquisite. These ones turned out to be not quite as phenomenal, but were still very good, and as it is such a great cause, I’m definitely willing to give them a few more tries to return to the sublime state of the first cupcakes I got here.
But on to preparing the vegetation. I love the way just picked vegetables look and smell. They are so much more vibrant looking, and they smell…well, fresher, obviously, but somehow more pure, more whatever-vegetable-they-are. You chop green garlic, and it’s not stronger smelling than the garlic you buy in the store, but somehow more essence of garlicky. Well, hokey sounding philosophy aside, they are just better than shipped and stored vegetables from the store.
I’d never cooked broccoli raab, but some quick research showed that you could simply blanch it in boiling water for a minute or two, and then saute it over medium heat with olive oil and garlic for about 10 minutes. I decided that I’d use some of the green garlic from last week’s market with that. Since green garlic is milder than regular garlic, I used up the eight or so stalks I had left, chopping it as you would green onions. Broccoli raab has a fairly strong bitter taste, so the pecorino romano and garlic would serve to counter that a bit.
Sauteed Broccoli Raab
1 bunch of broccoli raab
6-8 green garlic stalks, finely chopped
crushed red pepper flakes
pecorino romano or parmesan, shaved
salt to taste
Wash broccoli raab, and trim the end of the stems. Cut off larger stem pieces, and cut into 2-3 inch pieces. In batches, blanch stems and leaves in a large pot of boiling water – 2 minutes for stems and 1 minute for leaves. Remove with a slotted spoon and put in an ice bath or cover with ice to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry.
Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and then add the green garlic and a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper flakes. Saute until tender and just starting to brown. Add the broccoli raab, and continue to saute for about 5-10 minutes, until desired tenderness. (I just pulled a stem piece out, cut a bit off, and tried it to see if it was tender enough.)
Sprinkle with salt, add shaved pecorino romano, and serve.
As for the pasta, I was happy with the recipe that Papardelle’s had for the last pasta I bought from them, so we used a modified version of the one they had for the basil garlic trumpet pasta — shrimp instead of clams, onion scapes instead of green onions and garlic scapes instead of garlic. My husband was the primary cook on this one. The sauce turned out just a tad bland, but we found that adding a bit of salt brought out the flavor, and made it quite enjoyable.