Yet another thing I had never heard of. I regard myself as a reasonably knowledgeable gardener and eater, but that is now twice in four weeks that the folks at Frog Song
have stumped me. First with papalo and now with this sweet pepper. This was not in the CSA box this week, we just picked it up at the market.
John assured us that this was a sweet pepper. But come on! Look at them, they look just like a red hot pepper, maybe an Anaheim or a fresh arbol. So, somewhat dubious, we brought them home. I nibbled the end of one, no heat. So I sliced one and ate a seed. Most of the heat of a pepper is in the pith and the seeds, not the flesh. Still no heat. So this is what we did with them.
Sausage with mushrooms, peppers, and onions
2 mild Italian sausages (Wholefoods or The Meat House have good ones.)
2 red onions, sliced radially (stem to root.)
1 clove of garlic, chopped.
8 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered.
8 oz Nardello peppers, cut in half with the pith and seeds removed.
1 tbsp olive oil. More if necessary.
1/2 cup of red wine.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Brown the sausage in the oil in a skillet. Remove, slice, and set aside.
Sauté the onions in the same pan until beginning to brown. Remove and set aside. Add the peppers to the pan, try and keep as much of the skins on the skillet bottom as possible so that the skins brown and blister. Add the onions back in and the garlic until they are thoroughly cooked through. Add salt and pepper. Remove everything and set aside. Add the mushrooms and sausage to the pan. Add the thyme. You may need to add a little more oil. Cook covered until the mushrooms are cooked. Add the wine and reduce. Then put back the peppers and onions and cook until the favors meld. Not long. At this point you can leave the dish on a warm stove top, or simmering, covered until you are ready to serve. Correct the seasoning, serve in a large serving dish with a splash of balsamic vinegar. It is great with crusty bread and a green salad.
Jimmy Nardello peppers came from Italy in the 19th century. Jimmy Nardello donated them to the Seed Savers Exchange. They are a lovely Italian frying pepper.
Here is what we got in the box this week. John kindly swapped out the yard long beans for some malabar spinach, since we have so many of the beans from our own garden. By the way, here is the recipe I use for pickled yard long beans. You curl them into the jars whole so they look great in the jar and they come out like a Slinky.
This was Bethany’s idea for papalo. This is a variation on a recipe supplied by Sam. Here is the recipe.
Tilapia with Mango Salsa
One Florida mango, diced.
One small sweet onion, thinly sliced.
One diced sweet pepper.
Juice of one lime.
One tablespoon of chopped papalo leaves.
Mix all the ingredients together and set aside for the flavors to blend.
Two tilapia fillets
Juice of one lemon.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Marinade the tilapia in the other ingredients. Heat skillet to medium high add olive oil. Pan fry the tilapia, two minutes on one side, turn it over, add rest of marinade liquid, cover, turn the heat down low and cook for a few minutes (until the fish flakes.)
Place the fish on a serving dish, and top with salsa. It was delicious.
My new favorite way to cook amaranth leaves. This is another variation on a Fuchsia Dunlop recipe from Land of Plenty.
Amaranth can be a somewhat fibrous vegetable, so prepping is well worth the time. Nip off the smallest leaves and set aside. Nip the leaves from the petiole at the base, so that the petiole remains on the stem (not sure about your parts of the leaf? See here.) using a paring knife, strip the petioles from the stem pulling them down the stem so that you remove the petiole and some of the fibers from the stem, just like you would peal a stick of rhubarb. Wash everything thoroughly. Amaranth can be gritty as well. Chop the stems in half inch pieces and roughly chop the leaves. Now you are ready to begin. By the way, this prep is pretty much what I use for any amaranth recipe. Here is the recipe.
Amaranth in Hot Garlicky Sauce
One bunch of amaranth, prepped as above.
Four tablespoons of sweet aromatic soy sauce (fu zhi jiang you).
Four tablespoons of chili oil.
2-3 cloves of crushed garlic.
2 teaspoons of sesame oil.
Chopped papalo (or cilantro) for garnish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In the meantime mix the soy sauce, chili oil, garlic, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Blanch the amaranth for about 3-5 minutes. Test a leaf to check if it is cooked. Strain the amaranth from the water. Thoroughly mix the sauce into the amaranth and place in a serving bowl, sprinkle with the papalo. Serve warm.
We had this with dry fried yard long beans (gain bian si ji dou) and we just couldn’t resist traditional corn on the cob with lashings of butter, since it was so fresh. So this was an all-CSA meal tonight. The pork in the beans is just a flavoring and the beans are crunchy, the amaranth is very garlicky and somewhat spicy. All in all a great combination. ll washed down with a Vouvray.
* My Chinese is virtually non-existent. So I hope I have this right. Let me know if I need to correct it.
We got more than we expected this week. Amaranth, sweet corn (John threw in a couple of extra ears), sunflowers, sweet onions, sweet peppers, yard long beans, and papalo, but also another gorgeous watermelon and some nice complements on the blog from the good folks at Frog Song.
That papalo is definitely the most intriguing. I am going to have to do a whole post on that. Anyone have any ideas how to use it?
Thursday evening and this is the last of the week’s CSA. Roasting green beans is one of my favorite preparations. The combination of olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic dressing and a hot oven leads to a lovely charring and really brings out the sweetness of the beans. We ate them warm, but they make a good cold dish as well. Finish them with some good balsamic vinegar from Ancient Olive.
The whole onions, with the sweetness of the peppers, and a mild Italian sausage from Wholefoods all fried together are great way to use a surfeit of peppers.
Here are the recipes.
Roasted Green Beans
One pound of whole green beans, topped.
Two tablespoonfuls of Olive oil
Juice of one half lemon
Two cloves of garlic, sliced
Salt and Pepper
Good balsamic vinegar
Heat the oven to 450F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wash the beans and place in a large bowl. Mix the other ingredients together and add to the beans. Toss until the beans are thoroughly covered. Spread thinly on the parchment paper and roast for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned. Place in a suitable serving dish and dress with some good balsamic vinegar.
Peppers with Sausage
Six small onions, peeled but left whole
One mild Italian sausage
Six small sweet peppers, halved with seeds and pith removed.
Two cloves of garlic
Heat a suitable cast iron skillet with some olive oil. Add onions, when brown in parts, add the whole sausage. When brown, remove the sausage and cut into slices. Return to pan. Add peppers and salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook covered until flavors blend and peppers are thoroughly soft and their skin charred. Transfer to a suitable serving dish and deglaze the skillet with red wine. Add wine sauce to the serving dish. Adjust seasoning.
goes very well with a cheap and cheerful Primativo and a crusty loaf of bread.
As everybody knows, succotash is a Native-American dish made largely from corn and beans. So we brought a couple of ears of sweet corn (Bethany was not sure if it was Georgia or Florida corn, but hey) and we headed home for lunch. Here is the recipe.
2 ears of corn, shucked.
As many Lima beans as you can gather from the garden. Only a dozen in our case.
Half a dozen grape tomatoes, quartered.
one clove of garlic
Half a dozen okra, chopped into rounds.
Two sweet peppers, roasted, seeded, and chopped.
Olive oil and salt and paper to taste.
Sauté the garlic in the oil over a medium heat until you can smell it. Add the fresh Lima beans and enough water to cover them. Boil the water away. As the water evaporates add the thinly sliced onion. As the onion softens, add the tomatoes. As the tomatoes soften add the corn and then the okra. Add the roasted and chopped peppers. Cook only until the corn and okra have cooked through. The okra will turn bright green. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like to finish it with a splash of good olive oil from Ancient Olive ( a Spanish Pichual) and a sprinkle of sea salt.