Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The season's color wheel

The wheel has started to turn. Since late April it has been market loads of verdant drenched vegetables…ramps…asparagus…fiddleheads ferns…leafy greens. Only the crisp, peppery radish offered any pigmented relief to my plates.

Today, on my stroll, through the market, the first orange bundled possibility was spotted. Long, slender carrots were harvested – so thin that a vegetable peeler would leave you with nothing. The only way to clean them is a gentle scrub in cold water. After that, I all I dare to do to them would be to snip off their green tops. This nascent staple could never inform a stock or stew for it is yet packed with enough flavor to survive so long exposure in a simmer. Though, sautéed in in olive oil with a splash of orange juice is just perfection.

I will run back this weekend and buy a couple of bunches to put-up my first pickle of the year. Drowned in brine with a whisper of cinnamon these early arrivals will now wait until I throw on a wool sweater.

Tonight, I think, I might chunk the carrots, along with radishes, my favorite pucker, sorrel, and make a salad. It is summertime, okay not quite yet.

Chopped Spring Salad – yields 6 to 8 servings
1/2-pound bacon
1/2-pound thin asparagus – cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4-pound sugar snap peas – cut into thirds
1/2-cup fresh peas
2 small carrots – sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/8-pond garlic scapes - chopped
1-bunch radish
1-cup chopped sorrel leaves
3 scallions
1/2-cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the bacon till crisp, and then roughly chop. Hold the bacon to the side.

Place the asparagus, sugar snap peas, peas, carrots and garlic scapes into a sieve. Pour boil water over the vegetables, and let the water drain through.

In a large bowl add the blanched vegetables as well the radishes, sorrel and scallions. Toss all the vegetables with sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the bacon and serve.

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