Farmers’ Market Saturday – 9/10/11
September 12, 2011
Another great day at the Boulder Farmers’ Market – much cooler than a lot of Saturdays in July and August were. I headed over later than I usually do, as I volunteered at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley’s Cause for Paws 4k run/3k walk first, but there was still a huge amount of produce available. It seems like the vegetables keep getting more and more colorful as the weeks go on. So many bright tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, and peppers. I was extremely happy to see winter squash make an appearance, and purchased my first delicata (a wonderfully addictive squash) of the season.
This week’s haul included cannellini beans, mustard greens, arugula, onions, heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, a hot Portugal pepper, bell peppers, carrots, eggplant, purple potatoes, leeks, a delicata squash, a watermelon, a muskmelon, garlic, fennel, chives, apple mint, Pappardelle’s Italian Pesto Pasta Blend and a 6-pack of Street Fare mini cupcakes.
I bought quite a few tomatoes this week, because I felt like making tomato sauce for pasta again. But I got to thinking – why do tomato sauce recipes always used canned tomatoes? Because you want the tomatoes to have a riper, more ‘aged’ flavor (more mellow, and not as acidic). So I decided to roast the yellow and orange beefsteak tomatoes from 2R’s Farm, to mellow them out a bit and give them a less acidic flavor. So I had a good plan for my tomato sauce, but wasn’t quite sure what else to put with the pasta. I guess I still had clams on the brain from our Seattle trip, because that’s what I hit upon. And I wondered if eggplant would work with it. Whenever I think of a combination of things that could either be an inspired bit of culinary creativity or the disastrous result of a clueless person acting on a whim, I just do a Google search for it. If someone else has done it, and has admitted to it in a public arena, that’s a good sign that it might not be totally crazy. (Then again, with all the stuff people put on the internet, maybe that’s not really the most sound assumption…) Anyhow, ‘clams and eggplant’ resulted in quite a few hits, and ‘eggplant and clams and tomato’ turned up at least one hit, so I figured I was good to go. (I was still kind of nervous about it, though). Fortunately, it actually turned out really well and I was quite pleased with it. I elected to use canned clams, which are a far cry from the fresh ones we had several times last week, but I knew I wouldn’t equal those, so I figured I’d go with the cheaper and easier ones). I decided to just use some Hodgson Mill whole wheat fettucine with flax seed instead of a flavored pasta from Pappardelle’s, since Pappardelle’s is so flavorful it usually calls for a much simpler sauce.
I also planned to make a salad with the arugula I got from Cure Organic Farm and use some of the gorgeous cherry tomatoes from Red Wagon Organic Farm. The arugula was really spicy, so it seemed like the perfect application for another batch of peach vinaigrette. (I use a recipe for champagne vinaigrette on Epicurious, but make a half recipe, substitute peach vinegar, and cut the olive oil in half). After I finished roasting the vegetables for the tomato sauce, I tried some of the onions, and they were so wonderfully caramelized and sweet, that I decided to use a couple slices of those on the salad as well.
Fettucine with Clams, Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Sauce
serves 2 (+ extra tomato sauce)
1 6.5 oz can chopped clams, drained
5 oz fettucine (I used whole grain with flax seed)
8-10 medium tomatoes
2 long, thin eggplant
2 small onions
1 head of garlic
3 large basil leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tomatoes into wedges. Peel the eggplants and slice in half lengthwise. Cut the onions into thick slices. Peel all of the garlic cloves. Place the tomatoes on the first baking sheet skin-side down. Place the onion slices and eggplant on the second baking sheet.
Brush everything with 1 Tbsp olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes, checking every 15-20 minutes. I took the eggplant out, turned them, and brushed them with an additional 1 tsp of olive oil three times during roasting. Remove the eggplant and onions, and let cool. Roast the tomatoes an additional 10-30 minutes, until they start to break down.
Put the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a food processor, and process until the tomatoes are fairly smooth, and the garlic is chopped into mince-sized pieces. Divide in half, and reserve one half for another use.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 – 3/4 inch pieces, and drain the clams.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, put the tomato sauce, clams and eggplant in a saucepan, heat through, then reduce heat to lowest setting. With about 3 minutes left, chop the basil and add it to the sauce. When the pasta is done, drain then add to the sauce and mix well. Plate (or bowl, as the case may be) and top with shaved pecorino romano.