Escarole, Fighting for Your Love

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Raw Green Organic Escarole LettuceEscarole is oh so misunderstood by so many people (except Italians). Lovers of Italian Wedding Soup and White Bean Soup have escarole to thank for the hearty healthiness of these dishes. Escarole has a mild, slightly bitter flavor and a big heavy head with abundant tender leaves and creamy, blanched hearts. The inner, lighter-colored leaves are less bitter than the darker outer leaves. The inner leaves are more suitable for salads, while the outer leaves are ideal for cooked dishes.

There is almost no end to how you can prepare escarole: eaten raw, wilted, stewed, grilled, sautéed, as a wrap, and of course in soup. Epicurious offers ½ dozen ideas for enjoying escarole.

Here are three recipes that include ingredients we have:
Escarole Soup with Ginger and Cilantro (minced ginger & cilantro)
Escarole and Bean Soup (soldier beans = a cannellini bean alternative)
Escarole and Little Meatball Soup

 

This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
Escarole

A variety of endive with less bitter leaves. Tastes similar to radicchio. High in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A and K, escarole can be eaten raw or gently cooked. Use in salad, wilt quickly with lemon, or add to soup. More info

Braised Escarole with Lemon and Garlic
Escarole and Beans

Eating Purple Vegetables, People

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purple vegetablesThis week we bring you purple vegetables: Chinese Eggplant, Purple Viking Potatoes, and Concord Grapes (Fruit of the Week).

The Chinese eggplant has a much thinner skin and less bitter taste than standard eggplants and are a favorite in Asian cuisine. We’ve found three Chinese eggplant recipe videos we think you will enjoy. Chef Buck peppers his Chinese Eggplant with Sweet Saucerecipe and Chinese Eggplant with A Super Duper Lot of Garlic recipe videos with very funny quips…”Today we are going to cook us up a little bit of some Chinese Eggplant. Why? Because it’s purple!” Maangchi is adorable as she makes an Eggplant and Soy Sauce Side Dish.

We love breaded Chinese eggplant. Slice the eggplant into sticks, salt, and let sit for 15 minutes. Dip the eggplant in flour, then egg, and finally breadcrumbs. Fry in oil for about 4 minutes, or bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until soft and brown.

The Certified Organic Purple Viking Potatoes are grown for us by Richard Guardi of Skymeadow Farms, our favorite specialty potato guy!

 

This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
Chinese Eggplant

A long, slim variety that’s dark lavender in color, and great for stir-fries or braises. More info

Ratatouille
Baba Ganouj
Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
Eggplant Parmesan Rolls with Swiss Chard
Spicy Seared Eggplant

A Squash With A Story

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honeynut squashThis week we bring you the diminutive and sweet honeynut squash. In a nutshell, the honeynut was born after the super famous chef Dan Barber challenged a Cornell University Professor in Plant Breeding and Genetics to invent a butternut-like squash that tasted good and was smaller. Two years later, the honeynut squash arrived.

Now here is where the story gets really interesting. Typically, plants are bred for yield instead of flavor. Not the case with the final honeynut contender, which was selected for flavor and even more specifically for dry-roasting, a specific cooking technique recommended by Dan Barber. Roasting at high-heat brings out its rich, caramel-y, and intense natural sweetness. Plus, their thin skins mean they do not have to be peeled! They also have three times the amount of beta-carotene.

To dry-roast, simply cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast cut-side-down at 350 degrees in a glass or cast iron pan until soft. Don’t add oil! This Food & Wine article —  “The Biggest Mistake You’re Making When Roasting Vegetables, According to This Chef”  — makes a very compelling argument to dry-roast all vegetables.

You’ll also find some sprigs of fresh thyme in the bag this week. Sparrowbush Farm recommends pairing honeynut with thyme. Just sprinkle on the squash before serving. Another option is this recipe: Squash with Browned Butter and Thyme.

 

This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
Honeynut Squash

Pretty much a mini-Butternut, it’s compact in size and also super concentrated in sweetness. Fantastic roasted to bring out the sweetness, or in soups and purees. The Honeynut is a Tiny Squash with a Big History!

Roasted Honeynut Squash
Savory Stuffed Honeynut
Roasted Honeynut with Zaatar and Molasses
25 Butternut (or Honeynut) Recipes