I’m so happy with this week’s CSA share – some of my favorite greens are in the box: bok choy, escarole and swiss chard. And also fennel, garlic scapes, green garlic, radishes and mint.
Below are basic tips and ideas for cooking this week’s CSA share, including what to pair with what.
Greens are super easy to prep and use. Do you know my quick trick for separating leafy greens like kale and swiss chard from their stems? Hold the bottom of the stem with one hand and with the other hand rip the leaves away from you. The greens pull right off the stem.
Greens can be gritty, so be sure to clean them well. Swish the chopped or torn greens in a bowl of plenty of water or in a salad spinner and let them soak for a few minutes. Then lift them out of the water to leave the grit behind.
Escarole is a slightly bitter, leafy green. An escarole salad with a mustardy vinaigrette is one of my favorites. French chef Jacques Pepin has a simple and genius idea to make your vinaigrette in a mustard jar that’s just about empty. Oil and red wine vinegar or cider vinegar work well too. I like to pair escarole with other bitter, hearty leaves like radicchio. If you want to incorporate some sweetness, add some apple (optional: add walnuts and blue cheese), or citrus fruit and toss your salad with olive oil and lemon or vinegar. Walnut oil would be nice here instead of olive oil.
Escarole is also a great sautéing green. I think you’re going see a theme of beans and greens in this blog, which pair well.
I generally sauté Swiss chard. And don’t just use the leaves, use the stems too. Chop the stems and sauté them for a couple of minutes until they’re tender but still have a little crunch left, then add the chopped greens to the pan. Cook until the greens are wilted and tender. Taste for seasoning, add a pinch of salt and pepper and a splash of lemon or vinegar if you’re inclined.
Steaming bok choy is the simplest way to go. Serve drizzled with olive oil and a splash of lemon, or soy sauce (or tamari) and sesame oil. Bok choy is also great in a stir fry, sautéed or braised.
I love crunchy, refreshing fennel in salads and on a crudité plate. I’ve quick pickled fennel with great success. It also works well roasted with other vegetables or chicken.
Think of garlic scapes as a scallion with garlic flavor. We love grilled scallions, and like throwing them on the grill too, brushed with a little oil first. You can use the scapes as you do garlic – keeping in mind they have a sweeter flavor.
There can never be too much garlic in my house. If there was, I’d roast it or I’d pickle it. But I manage to cook with garlic almost daily. I add garlic to salad dressings, hummus, pesto and just about everything I roast or sauté.
Radishes are a sign of spring! Pairing radishes with butter and salt is a simple classic. Butter’s not your thing? Slice them into thin rounds and toss in a salad. I like radishes with cucumbers (both sliced into rounds), olive oil and red wine vinegar. Top your sandwiches, avocado toast or other savory toast with radishes. You can braise them along with their greens or serve as part of crudité plate.
I tend to use mint only when a recipe calls for it, and so when I get a bunch I often have a surplus. You can add mint to fruit salad and smoothies. I love it in a salsa verde to top veggies bowls, fish or chicken. Jamie Oliver’s salsa verde recipe is my go to. An easy way to use mint: steep the leaves in hot water to make iced tea.
How to pair the produce in this week’s CSA share
- When I have a super busy week ahead of me, I’m inclined to spend an hour or two in the kitchen to prep for the next several days, rather than start from scratch. If that were the case this week, I’d sauté the bok choy, kale and swiss chard individually with the green garlic or steam them individually. I’d roast the fennel. That way, I have ingredients prepped for healthy bowls or plates that can be served room temperature or warmed. Dressing or protein optional.
- Sauté green garlic with your greens.
- Use green garlic in dressing escarole salad. If you’re not inclined to make a dressing, you can finely grate or chop your garlic and just toss it in the salad.
- Add thinly sliced radishes and sliced fennel to your escarole or kale salads.
What I’m cooking this week
- Escarole sautéed with white beans
- Chicken thighs roasted with fennel and garlic
- Radish and cucumber salad
- Mint iced tea
- Steamed bok choy
- Sautéed swiss chard with garlic
- Grilled garlic scapes
I’ll be updating the site with recipes during the week. Be sure to check back to see what’s cooking.
Questions? I’d love to hear from you.