- When picking out produce make sure they are heavy for their size. This means they are young – “and youth is everything”
- Save the greens!
- Cook anyway - veggies can all be seared, blanched, sautéd, grilled, steamed, etc. Whatever your heart desires.
- But cook lightly - just until brightly colored, so they still have some bite and most of their nutrients.
- Green is Good! = Vitamin K and fiber
- When using a cast iron skillet - it needs to be super hot before adding veggies, oil is optional (but tasty), and you actually get iron mineral added to whatever you are cooking from the skillet.
- Ramps can be used in place of onion/leeks/scallions – take 15 years to grow and only in season for a month!! Worth it for unique peppery, garlickly flavor.
- Fava Beans – lots of work to enjoy them. Buttery with tons of protein. And high in iron and fiber. Good for dips as well as risotto dishes.
- English peas - look for shells that are shiny, velvety and plump. Cook for only 30 seconds in unsalted water. Use everywhere – salads, pureed, curry dishes, frittata, risottos.
- Asparagus – store them in damp paper towel for up to a few days and bigger stalks don’t taste as good. High in potassium,folic acid, vitamin B6, A and C. Cook anyway for 4 minutes. Save ends for stock.
- Fennel - save greens and ends for stocks. Licorice in flavor.
- Fiddlehead ferns – Another vitamin powerhouse (A, B2, B3, C) and we as good source of copper, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. After unraveling them, cook anyway for only 5-6 minutes. Similar to asparagus and green beans in texture – grassy, nutty taste.
- Use Italian, first press, unfllter extra virgin olive oil.
- Can cook any veg with just water, salt, olive oil.
- Can keep stock ingredients in freeze until ready for use.
- Buy a good german chef knife.
My favorite recipe from the evening:
Fiddlehead Fern Ragout
Recipe by Ella Nemcova
- 1 pound fiddleheads
- 4 shallots
- 4 T EVOO
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 1/2 can coconut milk
- 1 T chopped parsley
- s + p
- thyme for garnish
- In a sauce pan bring 1.5 quarts of salted water to boil. Add fiddleheads and return to a boil to blanch.
- Transfer fiddleheads to ice bath and chill.
- Drain and pat dry, removing as much of the outer brown membrane as possible.
- In a skillet saute shallots in olive oil.
- Add thyme and garlic and continue to cook until soft
- Add ferns and cook for 2 minutes
- Add coconut milk, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.