CSA Newsletter – Week 6
The Run-Down on Radicchio
Although long-popular in Italy, radicchio and other bitter greens are unknown to many people in the states, but this is changing! You may have seen it at the farmers’ market, or frisée endive, or sugarloaf chicory, and you might have asked someone what they were. Perhaps they replied, “it’s sort of like lettuce but bitter,” and you might have been like, “Oh,” and left it there to sit pretty on the shelf in search of a more appealing green.
We’ve all been there. The American palette doesn’t tend to value bitterness as a positive attribute. “Bitter” is a word we use to describe something that we don’t like, except that we love the bitter tones in coffee & beer. Appreciating and even craving bitterness is easily accomplished when combined with a multitude of other flavors that balance things out. We love bitter coffee specifically when it’s combined with sweet sugar & fatty cream.
Similarly, radicchio is so crazy refreshing and delicious when combined with specific other flavor friends. I often add a head of radicchio to a salad and balance its bitterness with sharp balsamic vinegar, sweet basil & fruit, and creamy, salty cheese chunks and walnuts. I love it raw, however, you can also cut your radicchio head in half, coat it liberally with olive oil, salt & pepper, and place it on the grill next to some fatty sausages!
Chicories are lettuce’s bitter cousin, but this is something to celebrate, not to lament. New flavors are like discovering new colors. Enjoy!
Best, LB (P.S. Chicories are the next kale.)
Table of Box Contents
- 1 Tomato—With every day of hot weather we have, our tomatoes get sweeter and sweeter on the vine. Try to see if you can taste the change throughout the season!
- 1 bulb Fennel—This big beautiful bulb and its fronds are both delicious and nutritious in their own ways. The fronds can be used as garnish on any dish or in a vegetable stock, and the bulbs are excellent grilled or sliced thinly and served raw in slaws and such. The oil that gives fennel (and tarragon) its licorice flavor can help reduce inflammation, and is high in vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
- 1 head Radicchio—This vibrant cousin of lettuce is amazing raw, grilled, and roasted, particularly when paired with vinegars and cheeses to play off the bitter notes of the rich red leaves.
- 2 Leeks—Like onions, but minus the pungency that’s been replaced by a buttery flavor, excellent in place of onions in almost any sauté that calls for onions.
- 1 bu. Spinach
- 1 bu. Purple Haze Carrots
- 1 Green Bell Pepper
- 4-5 Zucchini—To avoid your squash turning to mush when sautéing in the pan, be sure to wait to salt until you’ve turned off the pan.
- Colorado Rose Potatoes—While this week’s potatoes aren’t the prettiest in the world (so it goes in the life of a farmer) they are still entirely nutritious and delicious gifts from the soil. Might be a good week to make mashed potatoes. Or, slice potatoes into ½ inch disks and then dice from there to make a breakfast hash.
- 5 Cucumbers!!!!! —It’s time to make cucumber salad, cucumber soup, & cucumber facials all at once.
- 1 head Lettuce
Grilled Italian Platter
Adapted from https://paleoglutenfreeguy.com/grilled-italian-platter/
- 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Zucchini
- 2-3 heads Romaine or Little Gem Lettuce
- 1 Radicchio
- 3-4 tbsp Avocado Oil or Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 4 Italian Sausage (1-1.5 lbs)
- 1 cup Mixed Olives, pitted or not pitted
- 1/2 cup Pistachios
- 1/2 cup Dried Cherries
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, roughly chopped
- flaky Sea Salt
- freshly ground Black Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler or crumbled
- fresh Burrata, torn or sliced
- 8 oz Mascarpone, stirred w/ pinch salt & pepper
Prepare your gas grill, charcoal grill or grill pan over medium heat.
Add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and place over medium heat (on the grill or stovetop). Simmer until reduced and thick and syrupy, about 15-20 minutes.
Trim the ends of the zucchini. Slice in half lengthwise. If very thick, slice into thirds lengthwise.
Trim the root end of the radicchio and romaine by thinly slicing off the very end of the root. You want the leaves to remain attached. If any outer leaves fall off, that's okay. Just discard or serve separately.
Lay the veggies on a large baking sheet, brush with half the avocado oil and sprinkle with salt. Flip over and brush with more avocado oil and sprinkle with salt. For veggies that have 3 sides (like the wedges of radicchio), brush the 3rd side with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt.
Add the veggies & sausages to the grill. Cook them, covered if using a gas or charcoal grill: - sausages: 8-10 minutes per side, or until an instant thermometer reads 145 degrees. Cook zucchini 5-6 minutes per side, radicchio & romaine 4-5 minutes per side, cut sides only
Arrange on a platter. Scatter the pistachios, dried cherries, olives and basil on top. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the balsamic syrup on the side, along with any cheese, if desired.
Fennel Pasta Salad
Adapted from https://thefeedfeed.com/wellness_arevik/fennel-pasta-salad
- 1 large Fennel Bulb, cored and quartered
- 1 lb fresh Pasta, or one medium bag dry
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, roughly diced
- 1/2 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 4 cups Spinach
- Olive Oil, as needed
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 Avocado
- 1 Lemon, juiced
Heat grill to medium. Toss fennel with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook on grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until fully cooked. Let cool, then thinly slice.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain, then return to the same pot and add tomatoes and spinach. Cook over medium low heat until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat, then add sliced fennel.
Blend avocado, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a high-speed blender until smooth. Add to the pasta and toss to coat.
Fennel Slaw with Lamb Chops
Adapted from http://www.theoriginaldish.com/2019/04/16/lamb-chops-with-fennel-slaw-spiced-yogurt/
- 1 large Fennel Bulb, cored and quartered
- 2 Shallots, halved
- 1 1/2 Lemons, juiced
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Fennel Fronds
- 2 Tbsp Chives, chopped
- 2 sprigs Mint Leaves, torn
- Salt to taste
- 8 Lamb Loin Chops
- Black Pepper
- Vegetable Oil
- Plain Yogurt to serve
Trim a sliver off each end of the quartered fennel and the halved shallots. One by one, place the flat side of each down onto a mandolin. Use the mandolin to shave the fennel and shallots almost paper thin (or do your best with a knife, and it’ll turn out just as well!). Place them both in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the lemon juice, olive oil, fennel fronds, chives, and mint. Season with a generous pinch of salt to taste.
Let the slaw marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours before serving.
Let the lamb chops sit at room temp about 30 min. Pat dry and season well with generous salt and pepper.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a smidge of oil, and once the oil is hot, place half the lamb chops in the pan & sear about 3 minutes until crisp and deeply browned on one side. Flip and cook another 3 min longer for medium. Transfer them to a plate and cover loosely with foil while you cook the remaining lamb chops. Spoon the yogurt onto a large serving platter. Place the lamb chops onto the yogurt, with the fennel slaw over top.