Thursday, June 17, 2010

Week One: Strawberry Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette

this week's shareCaboodle left me a note on the food section of last week's newspaper. "Can we make this sometime?" she scrawled in red ink above a recipe for broccoli rabe. Imagine my delight when broccoli rabe showed up among the heap of greens in our first week's CSA share.

Alas, the dish was not a total success. Oh, the recipe is worth keeping (blanch and drain broccoli rabe, saute it with garlic, top it with Parmesan and crumbs, and then brown it under the broiler). Nope, the problem was my unfamiliarity with the vegetable. Our bunch of broccoli rabe was far more stalky than leafy; it apparently needed to be cut into smaller pieces and cooked longer. I'll just have to try again the next time it comes around.

As for the rest of the share, we got most of the items we expected (salad greens and radishes and strawberries) and a few surprises (no rhubarb, but baby turnips and a six-pack of tomato plants). Salad has been the dominant food all week. We've been eating our way through Boston lettuce, romaine, red oak leaf, mesclun mix, and spring cress. Truth be told, the cress is a bit vexing. It has the look and feel of plastic garnish. Best use so far has been to chop it up fine and add it to egg salad.

For my favorite salad of the week, I paired up our sweet berries with peppery greens.

Strawberry Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the salad: Mix together romaine lettuce with arugula or another peppery salad green to taste. Top with ripe strawberries, quartered or halved, depending on size. Add other ingredients as desired. I kept my salad to just greens and berries, but I could see adding red onion or feta or cucumber. Serve with balsamic vinaigrette.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
(Adapted from various recipes on the Internet)

Whisk together:

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)

Leftover dressing will keep in the refrigerator, but the oil will likely separate and harden. Just bring the dressing back to room temperature and whisk again before serving.

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