Blanched Vegetable Salad with Basil Parsley Vinaigrette

parsley basil vinaigeretteGreen beans, new potatoes, fava beans, and basil are all ingredients that delight me when they begin to show up at the market. Living in the midwest, I used to feel that it was finally summer when I saw corn and tomatoes. Here in Washington, it’s the green beans that I wait for. And this year, at the beginning of this season, I discovered a new delight. Have you tried the parsley from Tani Creek? It’s like none other. You’ll want to add it to dishes as a main ingredient, not just a garnish, as it is often relegated. Adapted to our climate, this “awesome tasty” heirloom variety has a pedigree which you can read about on the farm’s website while you peruse their seeds for sale.

Here’s a spunky salad that features parsley prominently. (Feel free to substitute it for the basil entirely.) It does take a bit of time to prepare. Think of it as a potluck show off dish. Or, make a big bowl of it on Sunday and smugly take it for a hearty lunch all week.

Salad:
1 pound new potatoes
1 pound green beans
1/2 pound fava beans (That’s the weight for the beans after being removed from pod.)
6 slices crispy ham, optional (See note.)

  1. Put a medium sized pot of water on to boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.
  2. Wash and slice potatoes into about 1 1/2 inch pieces. (If very small, you may not need to cut the potatoes. Yum!)
  3. Add potatoes to boiling water. Salt. Cook for 25 minutes.
  4. While your potatoes are cooking, attend to your green beans. Take the ends off the green beans and cut into large bites, about 2 inches long.
  5. Prepare fava beans by removing large beans from pods.
  6. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove potatoes to ice water bath. When cold, remove potatoes and place on a dishtowel. Pat dry.
  7. In the same water, boil green beans for 2-3 minutes, tasting to see if they are the consistency you might like. Follow the same procedure as the potatoes – ice water, then towel.
  8. For this dish, boil fava beans for 2 minutes. After chilling, remove the skins.
  9. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and pour vinaigrette over. Add crispy ham, if using.

Vinaigrette:parsley basil vinaigerette
1/4 c. fresh parsley leaves, packed
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tbls. champagne vinegar (or other gentle, white vinegar)
2 tsp. mustard
2 garlic scapes (or one large clove of garlic)
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
a few grinds of pepper

Add all ingredients to food processor and process until smooth.

Notes:

  • We always pick up a ration of Hitchcock Deli meat for the week – turkey, beef, ham, bacon. Occasionally we might be overzealous in our order and have a little leftover at the end of the week. Crispy ham is a remedy to this problem. Take ham that’s been in your fridge for awhile, crisp it up at 450F for 5-6 minutes and voila – a yummy crunch for pasta, eggs, or salad.
  • Feel free to play and add other seasonal veggies that you might prefer, of course.

 

Stop Eating Weeds

The farmers’ market is open!

Tomorrow is the third week  of the market. You might still want to indulge your winter-beaten, veggie-starved senses and just buy at whim,  or perhaps it’s time to settle down and make a plan.

Sample menu for the week (with market shopping list):

Saturday: Make risotto cakes early in the day and let them chill in the refrigerator until dinner. If you have Saturday adventures planned, dinner will be easy to cook when you come back. Just add a salad.

Sunday: Sunday afternoon is a good day to roll pasta. Make a double recipe, leaving half the noodles whole for chard lasagna. Cut the remaining half into wide fettuccine and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Monday: Yes, another week has started. Comfort yourself with a green salad, salmon, and mashed potatoes with spring onions and garlic.

Tuesday: Using Sunday’s pasta, make a quick dish, creamy asparagus sauce.

Wednesday: Time to make an easy soup that can also become the next day’s lunch. Try leek and potato.

Thursday: Stir fry tonight. Slice your pork and stir fry it, then proceed with this recipe. Pea shoots are a wonderful base. Be adventurous and add any little bits of veggie that you may have left in the drawer.

Friday: By the night before the market, you might just be out of fresh veggies and energy. Never fear, there’s always sage pizza to console you.

Shopping list:

  • bag of salad greens
  • 2 bunches of chard
  • bunch of spring onions
  • bunch of green garlic
  • bag of pea shoots
  • one bunch of asparagus
  • one bunch of leeks
  • yellow potatoes
  • 2 heads garlic
  • one dozen eggs


Kitchen Scraps

  • It’s fall! We’ve been doing a lot of preserving lately and our pantry is satisfyingly filling peaches in light syrupup with glass jars of delicious fruits and veggies. I’ve been relying on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website and recommend it to anyone who is looking to begin a canning project. So far, we’ve canned: pears in light syrup, pear sauce, peaches in light syrup, tomato sauce, ketchups, pickles, and jams.
  • Anne was a guest blogger on A Year in Bread, which has begun a series of Friday Favorites. It’s been great to read about others’ favorite, stand-by bread recipes. Check it out!
  • Perhaps the most bizarre island tradition can be found next week at the Bainbridge Island farmer’s market: the great zucchini race! You won’t want to miss it. While you’re at the market, look for more ways to prepare for winter: winter csa sign ups at Persephone and Butler Green Farms and Laughing Crow’s list for winter storage potatoes. Don’t forget to buy extra for your freezer.
  • The Day Rd. pumpkin patch is now open. It’s hard to believe it’s time for jack-o-lanterns. Why not make it a local one? The field is full now of pumpkins and, over the next few weeks, it will be fun to watch them disappear.
  • The next time that you go to visit the troll, have a sandwich at this new-ish Fremont lunch place: Homegrown. Seattle is a hard town to find a great sandwich in and Homegrown eclipses all expectations – local, organic, and scrumptiously delicious. Their sandwiches are just innovative enough to be intriguing but also rather predictable, as sandwiches should be. Here’s a recent review.