I love leafy greens, probably more than the average person. A big composed salad is one of my favorite meals. That being said, even I am thrilled to see more colors coming to the boxes this week! As we said to our email subscribers this weekend, it's natural to see more diversity and caloric density as we get into warmer weather. The foods that thrive in the cold are mostly an array of leafy greens and perennial herbs, so we get pretty darn excited as soon as we have more to sell - and more to eat - than just that.
We recommend that you set aside 15-30 minutes to unload your produce and do some quick preparations to help your food last as long as possible. Please consider the following preparation tips to make the most of your purchase.
*Wash all produce before use and either scrub or remove the peels.*
*Pickle or freeze anything you don’t plan to cook in 3-5 days.*
Rhubarb. Remove and discard the leaves as they are poisonous. Cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces, and either store in a paper towel-lined container in the fridge or partially freeze on a parchment-lined baking sheet before transferring to an airtight container.
Red Russian kale. Red Russian is a very mild and sweet kale that can be used both as a salad green or as a cooking green. Remove thick, woody stems. Briefly submerge the greens in cold water to remove any residual soil and to refresh the leaves. We recommend blanching kale right away in preparation for cooking later. To do this, lower the greens into (optional: salted) boiling water for 30-60 seconds until their color becomes very bright and vibrant, then immediately plunge into an ice water bath. Gently lift the greens into a colander to drain excess water. The cooking liquid contains some nutrients and may be stored as a base for homemade chicken or vegetable stock. Refrigerate in a lidded container for up to 3 days or freeze. Substitute for raw greens in recipes or smoothies by using half as much as is called for (i.e. ½ cup blanched greens in lieu of 1 cup raw greens).
Summer crisp lettuce. Cut the root end away to make loose leaves. Briefly submerge the greens in cold water to remove any residual soil and to refresh the leaves. Gently lift the greens into a salad spinner to remove as much excess water as possible. If you don’t have a salad spinner (though we really do find a big difference in storage time when a salad spinner is used instead) you can also place the greens on a paper towel-lined cooling rack, then pat dry with more paper towels. Store in a lidded container lined with a layer of dry paper towel.
Radishes. Remove the radish tops from the radish root. Wash and blanch the greens (boil for 30 seconds, then shock in a bowl of ice water) if you plan to eat them, then store in a container in the fridge. Line a zip-top plastic freezer bag with a moist paper towel, then place the radishes inside. Remove all of the air from the bag and put it into the crisper drawer. Radishes typically store for 2 weeks in this way. My neighbor's mom recently shared that her mother used to prop them in a cup of cold water to rejuvenate the roots.
Chervil & chives. Chives are old hat for most folks, but I'm sure chervil is a new one for some. It's very popular in Europe, particularly in French cuisine. A parsley cousin, it has a delightful and mild sweetness that is like a combination of fennel, celery, and parsley. It's very refreshing! Place each bunch of herbs in its own mason jar or cup and add a few inches of clean water, just enough to cover the bottom couple of inches of the stems of the herbs. Drape a plastic bag loosely over the top of the leaves, allowing some air to circulate. If your kitchen is warm, put them in the back of your fridge. If you won't use them within a few days, freeze chopped chives into ice cube trays topped with olive oil. Lemon balm can be infused into simple syrup and stored in the fridge, made into pesto or chimichurri and frozen, or tied and hung upside down to dry in a dark place.
Green garlic. Green garlic is simply immature garlic that hasn't had a chance to develop paper-covered cloves. It has a sweet, mild garlic flavor and can be used as an aromatic in just about any recipe where you'd use onions, leeks, or garlic. We typically store whole green garlic propped up in a cup on the counter sitting in an inch or two of water, but you can also pre-chop them to save time later in the week. Prepare green garlic exactly like leeks. Trim away the roots and the coarse green part of the tops. Both of these are excellent for making flavorful homemade vegetable or chicken stock, so if you'd like to try that we recommend that you wash away any soil and then place them in an airtight bag or container in the freezer where you can stockpile scraps until you're ready to make a batch. Cut the remaining white/light green section in half lengthwise, then wash under cold running water by fanning the layers to rinse away any sand or soil. Slice as required for your recipe.
Fresh Herb Frittata with Crème Fraiche
6 pastured eggs Salt & pepper 3 stems of green garlic, white and light green parts only, trimmed, washed, and sliced thinly
2 tbsp grass-fed butter such as Kriemhild Dairy 1/2 c fresh chervil, roughly chopped
1 bunch chives, minced
Crème fraiche for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk the eggs with half of the chervil, half of the chives, a pinch of salt, and a few fresh cracks of pepper and set aside. Heat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter to melt. Add the sliced green garlic to the skillet along with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is soft and tender but not browned. Mix the egg mixture again and then pour over the garlic, gently scrambling for a few seconds until the eggs begin to set. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes until the top is dry and the inside is cooked through. When it is cooked, set it aside for a few minutes and prepare your garnishes.
To serve, sprinkle the remaining chervil and chives over the top of the frittata and garnish with a few dollops of crème fraiche. This frittata pairs well with roasted cubed potatoes, lightly dressed lettuce, and sourdough toast.