Thursday, June 11, 2009

CSA week 1: Lots of Leafys

The veggie CSA that we're participating in started up this week. I was excited to see what we'd be getting, though I knew that, with this being New England and all, the selection would be limited. We ended up with lettuce, Swiss Chard, and spinach (and also strawberries and rhubarb, since I purchased a fruit share in addition to the veggies). Everything looked great and really fresh. (One of my pet peeves about "certified organic" produce is that it often suffers from a lack of proper storage. If you're going to all the trouble to grow "organic," why not keep the potatoes at a proper temperature until you sell them? It's not rocket science; it's a root cellar).

What to do with this bounty? This question seemed especially important since it's likely that the same players will be featured in next week's share, so I need to be ready. My hubby likes to have a salad for lunch everyday so I wasn't too worried about using that up. And I make Korean food often enough that the recipe for sesame spinach (also known as spinach salad) has full occupancy in my brain (and better yet, uses up a lot of spinach). My son ate the entire quart of strawberries within a day, and I found a good recipe for rhubarb bread, so those two were taken care of, too.

But the Swiss chard...I love the taste of leafy greens, but I hit a cook's block (kind of like a writer's block, but in the kitchen) when it comes to remembering ways to cook them. One can eat only so much chard sauteed with garlic. Then I remembered this recipe that was published in the Boston Globe Magazine (who hopefully won't hunt me down and sue me since I credit them fully). As a service to my fellow CSA members (who are also challenged by chard) and myself (who is just plain forgetful) I'm reposting the recipe here.

I must disclose that I haven't made this recipe yet - I'm going to make it for dinner tomorrow night. I'm posting it now, though, because (1) I have made other, very similar recipes and I liked them a lot, so I'm brashly confident that it'll turn out okay (I'll probably skip the fennel 'cause I don't have any right now, and use sorrel instead of basil because that's what's in the garden), (2) this recipe was one of the winners in a "one-pot meals" cooking contest, and (3) there will be wine with dinner tomorrow night, which means I'll be too sleepy to post it after I eat it. Therefore, I will take the risk and post an untested recipe: eater beware.

Cod with Swiss Chard and Potatoes
Source: The Boston Globe, February 17, 2008
Serves 6 (note: can be scaled down to serve fewer people)

2 1 1/2-pound skinless cod fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced and set aside in a bowl of water
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped fresh basil (optional)

Rinse the cod, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon over the fillets and set the fish aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and fennel, season with salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes and simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes.

Remove the potato slices from the water, dry them on paper towels, and arrange them on top of the tomato mixture. Season with more salt and pepper, add the chicken broth, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Lay the cod fillets on top of the potatoes and put the Swiss chard on top of the fish. Cover again and cook until the chard is wilted and the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and divide the chard among 6 plates. Divide the fish into portions and place on top of the chard, then divide and arrange the potatoes around the fish.

Put the pan back on the heat, add the butter to the sauce, and stir to mix. Reduce for about 2 minutes, then adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add basil, if using, to the sauce, stir to mix, and spoon over the fish. Serve immediately.


Kate said...

Looking forward to a self-review...

Val said...

I actually have all of these ingredients already on hand, so I'm going to make this for dinner tonight! I am a chardaholic lately.

Karen said...

Val, I hope you liked it. I'll definitely make it again, maybe with the fennel next time.