Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lacinato kale, watermelon radishes and baby turnips

Actually, this post should be entitled "I am a Late Adopter: The Delights of Morningside Market." My friend Katie pointed out to me, as others have done, that there is a really great farmers market up North Highland. I haven't been and I haven't been and finally I saw firsthand some of Katie's vegetables procured there and I went immediately. And guess what--it is indeed great, although not large. There are about 5 stalls, most are vegetables, there seemed like a bread one and then also a meat one, which is really exciting. I don't know if there will be more in the warmer months or not. Anyway, I found these wonderful tiny turnips and gorgeous dark lacinato kale...they are so tender and perfect. And these amazing radishes! Outside they look like big tough balls--they're about the size of baseballs, which is large for a radish--but when you slice them they are beautiful, bright red with a pale green rind. They look like watermelons, especially if you slice them into half moons. I drizzled them with hazelnut oil (olive oil is perfectly fine too) and sprinkled with salt and pepper for an appetizer when Charlie and Colleen came over.

The lacinato kale was very delicate and small--the leaves were not longer than 3". I sort of braised/sautéed them, first swirling around in a hot pan with olive oil, then adding a tiny bit of minced garlic, and then about 2 tablespoons each pinenuts and dried cranberries. Then I added about ¼ cup chicken stock and cooked until it was absorbed and the kale was soft but still bright green. It would have been even more delicious if I had toasted the pinenuts first, so be sure to do that if you think of it.

The baby turnips were wonderful. They had long, perfect greens attached so I sliced those off, leaving about 1" atop. This was at a different dinner than the kale so I cooked up the turnip greens pretty much exactly the same way as described above. The turnips themselves I tossed together in a pan with a head's worth of peeled, whole garlic cloves and 2 teaspoons of sugar. These roasted at 400 degrees underneath a chicken that was roasting already for dinner. It's important to remove a lot of the drippings before you put turnips in the roasting pan beneath the chicken, otherwise the vegetables will get too greasy. You may also need to use the baster to draw some of the juices out as they go along. They'll cook up happily along with the chicken--they need about 40 minutes, give the pan a shake now and then to redistribute.

No comments: