02 Apr2011

We received a shipment (or more appropriately, a semi-clandestine drop-off in the parking lot of a Makati mall) of assorted greens and herbs from Gejo Jimenez of Kitchen Herbs Farm yesterday. A couple of days before, I had asked Gejo to send me whatever he thought was interesting or at the peak of harvest, and I would figure out what to do with the bounty. There were over 15 items in our stash, including petite arugula, wild arugula, baby carrots, baby beet root, baby fennel bulbs, dill, mint, lemon basil, flat leaf parsley, cilantro, mustard sprouts, sunflower sprouts, teeny tiny cherry tomatoes, mixed lettuces, chicory/endive, broccoli rabe and dill pollen. More on the last two items in posts ahead.

For lunch today, I made a simple but incredibly satisfying dish of sauteed chicory/endive/escarole. Just a slight twist on a classic recipe yielded absolutely brilliant results. I used to live in New York many moons ago, and when I ate at more old-fashioned, family cooking style Italian restaurants, I would often order a dish of slightly bitter broccoli rabe or chicory or escarole sauteed in olive oil, garlic, dried peppers and a spritz of lemon. It was the perfect healthy accompaniment to grilled fowl, meat or fish. While I have replicated the dish often here in Manila with regular broccoli, it isn’t quite the same as the original…

Few things are easier to make. Take your endive/chicory/escarole and cut off the base of the bunch and any browning leaves. Blanche the greens (plunge into salted boiling water for say 1-1.5 minutes) and shock them in an ice bath, then place them in a spinner to draw out as much water/moisture as possible. Into a large saute pan, add several tablespoons of olive oil, several whole cloves of garlic peeled, and let this cook until the garlic is slightly golden, and NOT BURNED. Add a pinch or two of dried chili flakes toss this around for a few second and add all of the greens carefully (oil may splatter when water mixes with the hot oil). There should be this chef-like sizzle as the greens hit the pan. Mix the greens, aggressively tossing them in the pan, coating them with oil and garlic/chili goodness. I decided add 1/4th of a preserved meyer lemon, cut into thin slices, before adding the juice of 1/2 of a large lemon. Season with a bit of salt and black pepper. Serve immediately. The results? Fantastic. The greens had a hint of bitter but also a tinge of sweetness. The preserved lemon did that special something… adding a flavor punch that was most appealing, and the saltiness that comes from brining for weeks in the fridge. You could certainly make this dish without the preserved lemon which isn’t in any recipe I have perused so far, but I highly recommend the twist. The greens were glistening with moisture and garlic infused oil. So easy, healthy and delicious.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Maybs says:

    Pls. forgive my ignorance but what’s the local term for chicory? Is it quite common in PH? Thanks!!

    Apr 2, 2011 | 3:57 pm

     
  2. Em says:

    For underground root harvest, I roast and coat the veggies with Balsamic Vinegar, Rosemary, Worcerstershire, VOO, & salt/pepper to taste till slightly crisp…….

    Apr 2, 2011 | 4:14 pm

     
  3. rac says:

    for texture, you can add crunchies like bacon bits, crushed chicharon or any crushed toasted nuts.

    Apr 2, 2011 | 6:54 pm

     
  4. Footloose says:

    Not to detract from the lush-looking green dish above, one of the guests to your recent A Dinner Outdoors (http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/a-dinner-outdoors) wrote about an intriguing rule of thumb for stir-frying Chinese greens she received from a Sichuanese cook. It’s here:http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2011/03/another-thing-mr-zhang-taught-me-sichuanese-stir-fried-greens.html

    Apr 2, 2011 | 8:54 pm

     
  5. monique ignacio says:

    Very nice! I like the plate you used. Is this ceramic a John Pettyjohn?

    Apr 2, 2011 | 10:30 pm

     
  6. millet says:

    nice to know there is an astounding assortment of veggies available now

    Apr 2, 2011 | 10:36 pm

     
  7. Ryan says:

    After indulging on too much “mall food” today, I’m craving for vegetables! Looks very delicious!

    Apr 2, 2011 | 10:42 pm

     
  8. Marketman says:

    millet, yes, the variety is getting MUCH better… now if only restaurants started to buy these new produce items so growers can sustain their crops… monique, this particular bowl is not a Pettyjohn, but an ukay-ukay find – more on those in an upcoming post. Footloose, interesting post by Robyn (who wasn’t the guest at the dinner btw, a reader just incorrectly guessed/assumed that)… I think chopped garlic would definitely singe or go bitter in a super hot wok, and I can see the Sichuanese cook’s perspective on that one… but I do so love garlic with the greens. Maybs, I am not sure if there is a local term for chicory, until recently, I haven’t seen much of this vegetable in the markets…

    Apr 3, 2011 | 6:58 am

     
  9. Betchay says:

    At first glance, I thought the garlic cloves were scallops!Nice to know that these kinds of veggies are now being grown locally.

    Apr 3, 2011 | 7:59 am

     
  10. Gej says:

    Learned something to do with those “teeny tiny cherry tomatoes” recently. Instead of halving them, use them WHOLE with mozarella , basil etc on bread , or WASA crackers as you had done in your previous Dieting post. I liked the way the whole cherry tomatoes burst in the mouth as I ate them.

    Apr 4, 2011 | 1:54 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    Gej, yup, just saute them in a little oil and they soften a bit… delicious.

    Apr 5, 2011 | 9:26 am

     
  12. Wyatt says:

    Now they’re also feeding chicory to address the boar taint instead of castration.

    http://www.pigprogress.net/news/aarhus-uni-chicory-may-be-the-answer-to-prevent-boar-taint-in-pork-7883.html

    Oct 10, 2011 | 10:51 pm

     
 

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