What a week! Temperatures in the 90’s, endless weeds to pull and more produce than you can imagine. We went to market Saturday with carrots, beets, new potatoes, peas, Swiss chard, onions and kale. The onions, carrots and new potatoes literally flew off the stand! I kept busy filling quarts of potatoes, with sweat dripping off my nose, elbows and chin until we sold out! Our market stand was at one of its most colorful times of the year and I rushed off without my camera. But just picture in your mind’s eye the beautiful red of the onions, the seven color carrots, maroon and golden beets, bright lights Swiss chard and the deep green of Tuscan kale. A cornucopia of early summer vegetables.
We are relishing the abundance of the farm each day. The new potatoes need only the simplest of adornments, like sweet butter and fresh dill. Their earthiness shining through with each bite. I put our fresh onions in everything from salads to salsas. We will be pickling carrots and beets soon for our winter pantry as soon as we can find the time. But for now we are enjoying Val’s sister Jude and her partner Robin who are visiting from San Francisco. It’s been over a year since we have seen them, to share stories and laughter.
Today we had a full table: my brother-in-law Gary, Jude and Robin, our dear neighbors and good friends Lynne, Stephanie and Tim. I marinated flank steak for the grill, and we enjoyed three great salads. Stephanie who is a wonderful cook always brings something interesting. I love how she comes up with unusual combinations of color and textures. Today she brought a salad of navy beans, Swiss chard, golden beets, green tomatoes, chives, garlic and dill. I made a Caesar salad that makes good use of fresh young Tuscan kale. I may never eat a traditional Caesar again! A version of this recipe was in Bon Appetit, however their measurements were completely off for our tastes. Also note that this makes enough dressing for 2 or 3 salads. If you love it as much as we do, the dressing will keep for a week. Here’s how we make it:
Tuscan Kale Caesar Salad:
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 8 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, drained on paper towels
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese, divided
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
- 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled
- 14 oz Tuscan kale (curly or Lacinato also work) center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise; about 8 cups
- Combine the first four ingredients in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth. With machine running, slowly add oil, drop by drop, to make a creamy dressing. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of Pecorino. Season with salt and pepper. Keep chilled.
- Separate egg white from yolk. Place egg white in a coarse-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Press egg white through strainer with your fingers or back of a spoon; scrape egg white from bottom of strainer. Repeat with egg yolk, using a clean strainer and bowl. Can be made 6 hours ahead; cover and chill.
- Toss kale and dressing in bowl with hands. Do not over dress (you don’t want to drown the kale, just dress it). Keep extra dressing in refrigerator for next time.
- Top with remaining 1/2 cup Pecorino, then egg white, finish with yolk.
One of the very nicest things about lifeis the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti