Share contents for this week: 1 bag of basil, 2 heads of garlic, 1 bunch of fresh shallots, 1 celeriac, 1 head of savoy cabbage, 2 shintokiwa cucumbers, 2 pounds of romano beans, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes.
Storage: garlic can be kept out of the fridge. Cherry tomatoes too, if you'll be eating them within a couple days. Basil is sensitive to cold and will turn black if not kept properly. If you're going to keep it a few days before using or turning into pesto, put it into a cloth bag or roll it up in a cloth before refrigerating. Everything else needs to be kept in the refrigerator.
The celeriac tops are great for using in stock or broth or diced very fine and used in tomato sauce. They are quite fibrous and can be hard to chew but do a hold a lot of celery flavor. The bulb is the good stuff for eating. It needs to be peeled and then can be added to soups, mashed with potatoes, shaved raw into salad, or blanched and used in a salad I'll give a recipe for below.
Fresh shallots tops can be used liked green onions raw or sauteed or added to a stock. The red part is what we use when a recipe calls for shallots. They have a flavor that is more intense than sweet onions and at the same time less hot. They are a great ingredient in vinaigrettes and sliced thinly and added to salads.
Savoy cabbage is great for slaw and also makes wonderful cooked dishes including creamed cabbage and braised cabbage.
Shintokiwa cucumbers are a Japanese variety that tastes amazing despite their underwhelming looks. They are our favorite this year for salads.
Romano beans are a green snap bean with sweet flavor.
Celeriac and Cucumber Salad
Remove the tops from the celeriac and peel. Cut the celeriac into 1/8 inch thick slices and place in a pot with enough water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to the water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the celeriac form the water and cool with cold water of ice cubes.
When the celeriac pieces are cool enough to handle, cut them into long, narrow strips and place in a bowl. Thinly slice the 2 cucumbers and add to the bowl.
Thinly slice 1 shallot and add to the bowl.
Make a dressing of:
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1 dill pickle diced fine
2 teaspoons of capers
a few sprigs of parsley chopped fine
a squeeze of anchovy paste, about 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
a few leaves of mint or anise hyssop
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of ume boshi vinegar (or salt to taste)
black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients well and add to the bowl with the vegetables. Let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
This is also great with thinly sliced savoy cabbage and becomes a slaw.
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
From Chez Panisse by Alice Waters
1 pound of green beans
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Optional: basil or other herb
Top and tail the beans, and parboil them in slated water until tender. Drain and immediately spread them out to cool. (The beans retain more flavor if you avoid shocking them in cold water.) Cut he cherry tomatoes in half.
For the vinaigrette, peel and dice the shallot fine and put in a bowl with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed. Toss the cherry tomatoes in with the vinaigrette; this can sit for a while. Do not add the green beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinegar. For variety, the salad can be garnished with basil or some other fresh herb such as parsley, chervil, or hyssop.