This week's Market Watch takes a peek at beautiful delicata squash, from the Community Design Center of Minnesota's stand at the Mill City Farmers Market. Don't delay: the center's last market appearance is this coming Saturday. Here's a recipe that makes great use of the squash's thin, edible skin.
GLAZED DELICATA SQUASH RINGS
Note: From “The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook” by Andrea Chesman (Storey Publishing, $24.95).
2 medium Delicata squash
3 tbsp. butter, melted
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. freshly minced ginger
1 tbsp. honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice off ends of squash and scoop out seeds and fibers with a spoon. Cut squash into 3/4-inch rings. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic and ginger. Using all but 1 tablespoon of butter mixture, brush both sides of squash. Place squash on prepared baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes, turning rings once halfway through. Add honey to remaining butter mixture. Brush honey mixture over squash, return to oven and roast until completely tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot.
Pepper season is finally upon us. Here are two recipes that showcase sweet red peppers (such as the Carmen, pictured above, from Fazenda Boa Terra in Farmington, Minn., and purchased at the Bloomington Farmers Market), as outlined in this week's Market Watch.
CHAR-GRILLED RED PEPPERS WITH GARLIC, PARSLEY AND OREGANO
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: From “Fields of Plenty” by Michael Ableman (Chronicle Books, $35).
10 medium sweet red peppers
2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
3 tbsp. roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Red wine vinegar to taste
Prepare a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill. Place peppers over high heat and grill, turning as needed, until charred on all sides. If peppers still feel a bit firm, place them in a large bowl, and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap (the residual heat will finish cooking them). If peppers are already tender, set aside to cool to room temperature.
When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel back blackened skins with your fingers. Discard skin, core and seeds. Cut or tear peppers into strips about 1/2-inch wide and place them in a medium bowl. Add garlic, parsley, oregano and olive oil. Season with salt, cayenne and red wine vinegar to taste and toss to combine. Serve as a topping on freshly grilled bread rubbed with a clove of garlic, or as an appetizer with olives, cured meats and crusty bread.
POTATO, SWEET PEPPER AND FENNEL SALAD
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From “Outstanding in the Field” by Jim Denevan (Clarkson Potter, $32.50).
2 lbs. small, waxy potatoes, such as Russian banana or fingerling
2 lbs. sweet red peppers, such as Carmen
2 tbsp. minced shallot
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
2/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. fennel seed
2 tbsp. chopped fennel fronds
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash potatoes, place them in a pot over medium heat and cover with cold salted water. Bring to simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, very gently, so skins do not break and until potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
While potatoes are cooking, place peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven, turning them over once or twice, until skins are blistered, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer peppers to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and let peppers cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove and discard skins and seeds (do not rinse peppers, or you will wash away some of the roasted flavor). Cut peppers into 1/2-inch wide strips and set aside.
Meanwhile, place minced shallot in a small bowl and whisk in vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Whisking constantly, pour in olive oil in a slow, steady stream until all has been added and dressing is emulsified. Place fennel seed in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat and toast until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let seeds cool slightly. Transfer to a mortar and crush seeds very well with a pestle.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise or into 1-inch cubes. In a medium bowl, gently toss peppers and potatoes. Add dressing, crushed fennel seed and fennel fronds and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour to incorporate flavors before serving.
Here's an easy-to-prepare recipe that showcases tart, early-season apples (such as the Hazen, pictured, above), as chronicled in this week's Market Watch. It's from the new "Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe" by Alisa Huntsman, pastry chef at the landmark Nashville, Tenn., restaurant.
APPLE-GINGERSNAP BROWN BETTY
Note: From "Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe" by Alisa Huntsman (Workman, $24.95).
For streusel topping:
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
For brown betty:
3/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
6 c. peeled, cored and sliced apples (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs.) tart apples, such as Hazens
2 c. coarsely broken gingersnap cookies
1/4 c. heavy cream
Vanilla ice cream, optional
To prepare streusel: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon and rub together with your fingertips to blend and break up any clumps of brown sugar. Scatter butter cubes over flour mixture and continue to rub ingredients together with your fingertips until it forms small clumps and butter is no longer visible. Stir in walnuts and reserve.
To prepare brown betty: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Add apples and toss gently to coat with flour mixture. Arrange half of apple slices in an even layer in an 8-inch baking dish or other shallow 1 1/2-quart glass or ceramic casserole. Sprinkle half of gingersnaps over apples. Repeat with a remaining layer of apples and gingersnaps. Drizzle cream over gingersnaps and top with an even layer of streusel. Bake until apples are tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer baking dish to a wire rack and cool until warm. Serve with a scoop of ice cream, if desired.
This week's Market Watch puts the spotlight on sweet corn, cultivated in Brooklyn Park by farmer Bill Brooks. Here's the promised recipe.
Also, for four fantastic sweet corn recipes -- sweet corn succotash, sweet corn chowder, crepes with corn pudding and sweet corn pancakes with honey-pecan butter -- go here. They were created for Taste by local chefs Steve Vranian (formerly of Nick and Eddie), Phillip Becht (formerly of the Modern Cafe, now at the Birchwood Cafe), Heidi Woodman (Heidi's) and Russell Klein (Meritage) for a 2008 story, and they all belong in your sweet corn repertoire.
BLACK BEAN AND ROASTED CORN SALAD
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: From “The Mitsitam Café Cookbook: Recipes from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian” by Richard Hetzler (Fulcrum Publishing, $22.95).
6 ears corn, husked
2 c. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
½ c. diced red bell pepper
½ c. diced yellow bell pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ c. freshly chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. seeded and minced jalapeno chile
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbsp. corn or canola oil
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place corn directly on oven rack and roast until corn just begins to change color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack and cool. Cut kernels from ears and transfer corn to a large bowl. Add beans, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, cumin and coriander and toss to coat. Add lime juice and oil and toss again. Season with salt and serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
Here's a recipe for collard greens, as featured in this week's Market Watch.
COLLARDS WITH POTATOES
Serves 2 to 4.
Note: From “Local Flavors” by Deborah Madison (Broadway Books, $39.95).
2 bunches collard greens
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 medium yellow-fleshed potatoes, scrubbed and coarsely diced
3 to 4 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp. peanut or olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
Hot pepper sauce to taste
Strip collard leaves from stems and wash greens. Bring a few quarts of water to a boil. Add salt and greens, then simmer for 10 minutes. Scoop greens into a bowl. Add potatoes to cooking water and simmer until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until browned. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Discard fat and wipe out pan. Return pan to medium-high heat, add oil and, when it’s hot, add onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
Coarsely chop cooked collards, then add them to pan along with garlic and pepper flakes. Scoop some of the potato water into the pan so everything cooks in a little moisture, adding more water as needed. When potatoes are tender, scoop them out and add them to greens. Add bacon and toss everything together. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Keep everything distinct, or mash potatoes into greens. The latter is especially good, but messy looking. Transfer to a platter, season with hot pepper sauce to taste and serve.
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