by The Culinistas
What’s in season in the early summer months? Some of our all time favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs. Remember, what grows together goes together, so as you’re planning out your socially distanced summer picnics, try incorporating the following ingredients in the same dish.
We know what you’re thinking; “How would I even use chamomile?” How about an infusion? We make a tart blueberry compote with chamomile, honey, and warm spices, jar it up and save for morning yogurt parfaits & pancakes. Or, perhaps a chamomile vinegar is more your style, find the recipe in The Parchment Paper. Or, press into cookies, like Loria Stern.
Collards are typically found in West African and Southern American cuisines; they are especially delicious with fat (think bacon, pancetta, maybe some of that ramp butter you threw in the freezer this Spring?) and acid (vinegar and citrus work well). Cook them as a side or throw them into a soup, stew, or seafood braise for added greenery.
Scapes are the stem of a garlic plant, you can typically buy them at your local farmers market. Eat them minced raw (they are crunchy!) or cooked, blend into a pesto or sauce, or throw them on the grill.
Favas take a bit of elbow grease to prepare. They grow in long pods and require tedious (read: meditative!) shucking. However, the task is worth the reward: a buttery nutty bean that’s great blended and raw.
Nettles are edible, delicious, and an antioxidant-rich ingredient. Blanch your nettles before cooking them to keep the flavor and color intact. They taste a lot like spinach and can be used as such, in pastas, salads, or soups. We are dreaming up a torta rustica nettle ricotta pie.
Depending on where you’re isolating, you may be able to find sorrel in a nearby forest. It’s a bit tangy and sour and does great in pestos. If you get your hands on the red veined variety, that’s simply too beautiful to be blended, use it to toss into your salads, or as garnish for your other dishes.
Whether your farmers market sports zucchini, crookneck, zephyr, or pattypan varieties, stock up on summer squash for jammy pastas, grain salads, or on their own as a side.
Wax on wax off, eh? Wax beans are green beans sans chlorophyll, which explains their yellow color. Treat them like their green cousins, and maybe pair with another yellow bounty? Yellow carrots perhaps?