Tuesday, June 14, 2005

the best thing i've eaten this week

note: i meant to do this from the beginning, but never got it off the ground. then on saturday when we were at the big apple bbq, with matt and ann, matt said through a mouthful of pork that he'd been thinking he should start a website that just lists the best thing he's eaten each week, and it inspired me to get on this. so i'm starting with this week, but will be posting some retroactive btietws too.

the ramps are gone (which is probably good, since stephen thinks that they didn't agree with his stomach, so if they were still around this week we would have had to make separate dinners a couple times this week....), but there were new treats at the farmers' market this week: squash blossoms and garlic greens*. more cynical shoppers may say, "hey, they're just trying to sell us stuff that they would normally trim off the actual vegetables and throw away". to those cynical shoppers i say, "more for me, suckers!"

i'd only ever heard of frying squash blossoms, so that's what i did. first, you have to split them open to clean them and remove the bugs. i'd say about half the blossoms i cleaned had little stripey bugs inside them.... you also have to take out the stamen (or is it pistol? i forget my flower anatomy) from inside the blossom. i wasn't sure if i should take off the base of the blossom, which was covered in kind of soft prickly fuzz, but i didn't and it didn't taste prickly or fuzzy once it was fried. i filled them with little balls of chevre, and twisted the tops to seal them. then i followed my standard frying technique: dip in egg, dip in mixture of cornmeal and flour, fry in about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil, drain them on paper towels, sprinkle with salt. keep the temperature of the oil as hot as it can get without splattering, and err on the side of more lightly browned—they really only a take a second. you are, after all, deep frying a flower. the combination of the crispy texture of the fried and the silky texture of the blossom is killer. and, as stephen said, "we're eating fried cheese." amen.

considering that 90% of the things i cook start or end with garlic, i can't believe i've never heard of, let alone seen, garlic greens before. the proper name for them is garlic scapes. they look like psychadelic chives, and they taste like, um, garlic—but greener and more subtle. apparently they will keep for weeks in the fridge in a brown paper bag, and also freeze well chopped up, so i'm going to stock up if they still have them at the market this week. stephen was making pork chops to go with our squash blossoms, so we just chopped up a couple of scapes and he threw them in the pan when he turned the chops over. i wish we had used three times as much as we did—they got tender but not at all mushy, and i wanted a whole lot more of them with each bite of pork. then last night i roasted some zucchini and threw in some scapes that i cut up into matchsticks, and they were perfect that way too. i'm currently trawling the internet for recipes, but i think that thursday night when stephen is working late i might just saute up a pan-full of them and have that for dinner....

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