Thursday, April 27, 2006

spring is here

i never got around to doing a post on the farmer's market topic way back when, so here it is.

i did a little spring shopping in the farmer's market this weekend so i could make one of my favorite spring meals. here's the menu: fava beans with green garlic; fingerling potatoes with bacon and rosemary; and roast pork loin (or lamb is good, too, but i'm not made of money).

green garlic is available only in spring and is, basically, baby garlic. it looks like a green onion, but bigger with flat leaves and a more bulbous end. i like to slice it up and use it in recipes instead of green onions or leeks. it adds a mild garlic flavor, but is not overpowering and won't give you the dreaded garlic breath.

and fava beans are just yum. another spring favorite. they come in these giant pods that look like green beans on steroids. to prepare them, remove them from the pods and then blanch them in salty, boiling water for about a minute or two. then throw them in an ice bath to cool them down and loosen the husk. finally, pop the beans out of the fibrous husk and they're ready to use. it's a lot of work for a small amount of food; but it's definitely worth it.

after all that, i saute some sliced green garlic and salt in the pan with a generous amount of olive oil and add the fava beans when the garlic starts to get soft. keep everything on the heat until the fava beans are just heated through and serve.

the fingerling potatoes are simple, though. i make up a foil pouch with the potatoes, a few slices of bacon (chopped up into bits), some fresh rosemary sprigs and some kosher salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. i throw the pouch in the oven with the pork loin and they potatoes are done at the same time.

the pork loin is dead simple, too. i brine it for at least a few hours in some salt water in a covered dish in the fridge and try to bring to room temperature before it goes in the oven. if you want to get fancy, cut back on the salt and replace it with some soy sauce and add a few slices of fresh ginger, some peppercorns, some star anis and a little sugar (a ming tsai recipe). to cook, i dry off the roast, rub with a little oil, add some cracked pepper and bake in the convection oven until about 150 degrees internal temperature. brining produces the moistest pork loin ever. but be sure to give the meat a good 10 minute rest before cutting, because, as alton brown taught me, letting the meat rest helps keep all the juice in the meat where it belongs, not on your cutting board!


mooncrazy said...

Green garlic? I've never seen that at my farmer's market but I'll ask next visit. Would that be an Asian selection?

maltese parakeet said...

i don't think it's particularly asian or not. i usually find it at the table where they have all of the greens. go soon, i don't think it'll be around much longer.