My favorite find, yesterday, at the Farmer's Market. Romanesque Broccoli.
I've never eaten it before (well, actually, now I've eaten it, but at the time I bought it, I hadn't yet eaten it and simply had to have it, if only for a photo). I am absolutely fascinated with this thing. Look how beautiful it is! It looks like some sort of prehistoric... creature or something you'd find in a math book. Anyway, it's delicious. Sort of like broccoli, but with a richer flavor... and kind of like cauliflower, but with a creamier texture. Lovely and fun. I created two recipes with it today. We're all very excited around here.
Firstly, soup. So nice for these chilly, rainy days we're having here. Brrr.
There it is, simmering. Mmmm, warmth.
It's really just a variation on the potato leek soup I usually make (what my dear friend Coral likes to call "Mashed Potato Soup") but with the added flavor of the Romanesque Broccoli.
In honor of Coral, I suppose I'll call this recipe:
Mashed Potato Soup with Romanesque Broccoli *
4 large leeks (or 6-8 small ones)
3-4 small-ish potatoes
1 head of Romanesque broccoli
broth or water to cover
freshly ground pepper
handful of herbs (I used savory this time)
* use organic ingredients when possible
Chop and rinse the leeks really well. I mean, really well, like, let them soak (in a colander) inside a bowl full of water and then clear that water out and then soak them again a couple of times.
Now, put a few tablespoons (I never measure, so I'm approximating) of olive oil in a dutch oven or stainless steel pan and dump the freshly cleaned leeks into it. Cover and cook for roughly 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (don't let them burn). When they seem soft enough, add the potatoes (peeled and chopped into large-ish pieces) and the Romanesque broccoli (also chopped). Add water to (almost) cover (I usually use chicken broth for added nutrition and flavor, but I didn't have any so I used water. It worked out just fine). Add the handful of herbs. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the potatoes are soft enough to mush with a wooden spoon. Blend everything with a hand blender. Now, add the salt and pepper to taste, 1/3 to 1/2 stick of butter (or not), 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream (you daredevil, you) and more salt and pepper to taste. There now. Isn't that lovely? My kids ate every drop. I probably deserve an award.
Oh... ahem. I'm just now realizing that I neglected to mention the half piece of cooked bacon I threw in toward the end there. Blended it right in with the veggies. It added a rather nice something to the soup, but I'm sure it would be just as lovely without it, if you don't happen to be as committed a bacon fan as I am. If, on the other hand, you do like bacon, I say, throw it in. Pigs raised in the sun add vitamin D to your diet. Plus, it's yummy.
Ok. Recipe number two. Ready?
Romanesque Broccoli, French Sorrel, Bacon and Cheddar Quiche *
First make the crust:
1/2 cup organic "white" whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic spelt flour
6 tablespoons cold organic butter
2 tablespoons (or so) ice water
1/2 tspn. sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425º.
Throw the flour and the salt and the butter in the Cuisinart and blitz until crumbly. While the machine is running, slowly add the water until the mixture clings to itself. Form the mixture into a sort of a ball, place it in the middle of a piece of cellophane, wrap it up and press it into a disc shape. Good! Now stick it in the fridge for 15 minutes (if you're impatient or short on time, you can skip this step).
Butter a pie plate. Roll the dough out into a circle and place it gently in the pie plate, pressing it into the bottom. Cut off anything dangling and decorate the edge as you so choose. Prick holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Now at this point (according to some quiche recipes - I consulted several) you're ideally supposed to stick the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes. I completely skipped this step (because I was
impatient short on time) and stuck mine directly into the oven for 15 minutes and it was fine. If you do freeze it, you'll probably have to cook it a bit longer. Keep an eye on it, though. If it starts to bubble up in the middle, open the oven door and poke it with a fork so that it deflates again. When it's nice and golden, take it out of the oven. Turn the heat down to 400º and work on the filling.
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 cup chopped French Sorrel
3/4 cup chopped Romanesque Broccoli
1 pack of organic bacon (fried in a skillet - did I mention that I love bacon?)
1 tspn (or more) sea salt
freshly ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup organic cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup organic cream
* use organic ingredients when possible
Into the Cuisinart, put the eggs, creme fraiche, Sorrel, Romanesque Broccoli, spices and cream. Blitz. Chop up half of the bacon and sprinkle it around the bottom of the pre-cooked pie crust. Pour the egg mixture over the bacon. Add the cheddar and the rest of the bacon and stir it around with a wooden spoon.
Place it in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes (keep an eye on it. You may have to put a sheet of foil over the top half way through to prevent the crust from burning). Yummy! Really yummy. I wish I had made two (the kids haven't tried this one yet. It's going in their lunches tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.) We ate this with a simple side salad of red leaf lettuce, chopped green onions and Japanese cucumbers with a basalmic vinaigrette. And, of course, the soup.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did. They are quick and easy and wholesome and flavorful. We are truly enjoying our new adventure (have I spoken of this yet?) of using what we have in the cupboards (rather than letting it collect dust for a year and then throwing it away. Yuk.) and creating meals out of the foods we find at the farmer's market that are fresh, locally grown (mostly) and in season. It is helping me to slow down and really enjoy the process of making food and feeding my family, while also managing to somehow save us time (or, at least, enjoy time in a different way) and money. Go figure.
Bon Appetit and have a lovely evening!