Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tantre Farm Share, week 3

From left to right, top row: Massive bunch of spinach, spicy greens, two heads of red lettuce, romaine lettuce, strawberries
bottom row: turnips, radishes, scallions, English peas, garlic scapes, lemon balm

Menu Plan:
  • Some of the spinach, a few garlic scapes, and two of the scallions will be used to make foil-packet tilapia (see below).
  • Garlic scape pesto to freeze and enjoy in the depths of winter
  • Fresh peas and radishes will be tossed with toasted walnuts, feta, scallions and a mustard vinaigrette.
  • The rest of the spinach will be blanched and combined into this salad with ricotta (and wheat berries instead of barley).
  • My mom's birthday was yesterday so we consumed the strawberries with a lemon sour cream cake and whipped cream. I much prefer lemon cake to biscuity shortcakes as my strawberries and cream delivery device.
  • The lemon balm will be made into herbal tea. I love infusions with fresh herbs--the flavor is much brighter than the dried.
  • I haven't really decided what to do with the lettuce, turnips or spicy greens yet. Probably just salad, braise and stir fry respectively.
Now, about that fish in a foil packet. I really like making fish this way, partly because there is very little mess (no pan to wash, just rinse the used foil and toss in the recycling bin) and partly because it is easy and flavorful and eminently flexible. It works just as well in the winter with frozen vegetables as it does now with all this glorious produce.

Here's the general idea:
  • First, crank up the oven to 400.
  • Rip off a big piece of foil for each serving, probably about 18 inches long. Rub a little olive oil on the center and then pile on a portion of leftover rice (you can freeze leftover rice which makes this super easy. Just thaw the rice first.)
  • Assemble a cutting board full of vegetables--you definitely want one or more members of the allium family: thin sliced onion, minced garlic, chopped garlic scapes, chopped scallions, you get the idea. Put half of your chosen allium(s) on the rice and reserve a few to top the whole pile so there is lots of pungent goodness throughout. Most vegetables work fine, just watch out for the ones that release a lot of water when they cook. Try combining any of the following: thin sliced carrots, sliced red peppers, steamed greens, thin sliced fennel, sugar snap peas, some cherry tomatoes. Whatever sounds good and is hanging out in the crisper drawers. Heck, even frozen peas and frozen broccoli works in the wintertime.
  • Lay a tilapia fillet on top of the rice pile. Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper and any other herbs you want (dill, tarragon, fresh basil, whatever works with your vegetable pile).
  • Pile on the vegetables and the rest of your chosen alliums.
  • Top with some feta, another sprinkle of salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Then fold over your foil and seal up your packets, plop them on a baking sheet and chuck them in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Take out a packet and carefully open it up (there will be some steam); use a knife to poke around and see if the fish is cooked through. If not, seal up the packet again and leave it for another 5 minutes.
  • Open up the packets and slide each one onto its own plate.
As I mentioned before, this recipe is flexible. You can splash on a little white wine if you are so inspired, you can smear the tilapia with some dijon mustard, or replace the feta with a blob of sour cream and a little lemon zest. I'm sure you could substitute a different fish fillet, just make sure it is thin. I use tilapia because it a) cheap b) mild and c) the US farmed tilapia is one of the best choices on the seafood watch guide. I usually get a bag of frozen fillets and pull out as many as I need the morning I want to make this.

Tonight's packet contained brown rice, garlic scapes, two big scallions, spinach that I had nuked until it wilted and chopped (the leaves were HUGE), feta and lemon and it was terrific--all the flavors melded together but it wasn't a big pile of fishy mush (which may be one of the more disgusting phrases I've ever written. Fishy mush=ewwww.) I neglected to photograph it before I gobbled it down, but here's a picture of a depths of winter version all piled up and ready to be sealed in its packet:
Let me know if you come up with any particularly tasty combinations that I can add to our repertoire!

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

If you EVER want lemon balm, let me know. I've got a ton! Inever know what to do with it...