Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Mike Rosenberg: The Man Who Cooks takes advantage of CSA veggie windfall
By Mike Rosenberg
A recent trip to Lexington to spend some quality dude time with my friend “The Chad” yielded a deliciously unexpected result. The Chad and his lovely wife participate in a Community Sponsored Agriculture program. If you’re unfamiliar, a CSA is a program in which you buy a “share” of the output of a local farm. Each week or two, members pick up a variety of fresh veggies. Like the proverbial Gump box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.
When I was there, The Chad had picked up his share as well as the share of some friends, as they were on vacation. As a result, he had vegetables in every nook and cranny of his kitchen. He so much as begged, “Please…please…free me from this vegetal avalanche!” So I did.
Among other things, I ended up with a bunch of lovely looking beets and the first-ever pattypan squash I’d ever run across. A pattypan squash is a summer squash which looks like…well…a pan. It’s “flying saucer” shaped. It’s got a neutral flavor – like a very firm zucchini.
We were in the mood for some grilled stuff, so I simply sliced the pattypan in half, brushed both sides with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic. The beets we sliced into rounds and put in a foil pack with olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper.
There was some nice-looking sockeye salmon at the supermarket, so I snagged a couple of pieces and gave them the salt/pepper/olive oil treatment. I covered the tops of the filets with basil leaves, fired up the grill to medium-high and put the beet pack on there after a couple of minutes while the grill was heating up. After about 10 minutes, I killed the burners on one side of the grill. I’ve been cooking more and more fish over indirect heat. I’ve found that to be a much more forgiving cooking method. I put the fish over the now-off burners.
The squash went over direct heat. I grilled that for six to seven minutes on a side. Everything finished at more or less the same time. When we dished it up, it looked like this:
The basil did infuse the fish with a nice, light herbal flavor – a good counterpoint to the smokiness from the grill and the earthiness of the vegetables. Quite a nice little dinner.
Mike Rosenberg just loves to cook. He is a “Sommelier for the Common Man,” a regular guy with fifteen bucks worth of savoir faire and a nose for tasty food and wine. Learn about wine at his blog, The Naked Vine, and follow his culinary adventures at The Man Who Cooks – and here at Food and Fun at KyForward. Email Mike at email@example.com. Mike is on a basil kick, so tune back in for more recipes – and expect to find basil in them.