Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yesterday's Harvest

Another beautiful sunny day, with the possibility of a couple of beautiful rainy days tomorrow and Tuesday.  The moon, which was gloriously full earlier last week, was still high in the western sky when we went walking in the desert at 9 this morning.  On Monday and Tuesday it was huge and golden, hanging just above the horizon around 6, before sunrise.

Following a freeze warning for Friday night (which didn't materialize in our yard) I took the sheets off the plants yesterday to marvel again at how well they're doing.  Here's what I harvested yesterday, from left to right: endive frisée, mesclun, and broccoli raab.  The frisée and broccoli raab were getting pretty crowded--time to thin things out a bit.  This will give us salad for the week, and probably pasta with sausage and broccoli raab, a wonderful combination. 
    The frisée is something I look forward to every year, ever since I found a recipe in the NYTimes food section for a salad using it along with bacon and a poached egg on top.  I've lost the actual recipe (you could google "salade endive frisée" - there are dozens of recipes that are of varying degrees of difficulty; I like mine simple), but basically for 2 people you cook up a couple of slices of bacon then sauté a sliced apple (one with some body and tartness, ideally) and some chopped red onion in the bacon fat, then whisk in apple cider vinegar to turn the bacon fat into a dressing.  While you're doing all the sautéing, put a bunch of frisée on salad plates--about 3 cups per plate (the hot dressing will wilt it) and sprinkle each with half the crumbled bacon.  And put on some water to poach one egg for each serving (a little vinegar in the poaching water keeps the whites from doing that weird thing they tend to do, or at least from doing it so badly).
    Okay, to finish assembling the salad, pour the hot dressing over the greens and bacon (try to evenly divide the sautéed apple and onion between the two plates), then top each serving with a poached egg.
If you don't have frisée, other greens will do, like escarole; just be sure they're sturdy enough to stand up to the hot dressing--no tender baby greens or mesclun.  The article in the times said this delicious and economical dish was popular among struggling artists in their garrets in the 19th century.  I can see why. Think I'll fix it for a quick dinner after work tomorrow, with some good bread and a nice glass of Liberté, a nice Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon from Familia Nueva that we recently discovered at Trader Joe's. (It's not 3-buck Chuck, but it's pretty inexpensive too) Yum!

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