Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New veggies are popping up all over the farm and things are finally looking a little less leafy and green and a little more like spring and summer. Below I've posted a minty pea salad recipe and a yummy pasta recipe with sausage and spinach. Enjoy.

Fresh Pea Salad


If you end up with a dressing that is too spicy for your tastes, tame it with a dollop (or two) of plain yogurt. If you know you are sensitive to spiciness you can always remove the seeds and veins in future versions. If you like a bit more kick, add more serrano chile a small piece at a time.

1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 dried dates, pitted
1/2 of a small serrano chile, stem removed
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and zest from that lemon
1 1/2 cups fresh peas
1 small head of romaine lettuce, cut into shreds
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
fine grain sea salt

To make the mint-date dressing, puree the mint, dates, chiles and lemon juice and zest using a food processor or hand blender. Blend until uniform in texture. Thin it out by adding a tablespoon of water at a time until it is a consistency that you can drizzle (the photo up above is before I added 2-3 tablespoons of water to thin it out). Taste and adjust for lemon and spiciness.

When you go to cook the peas, the key is not overcooking them. Fill a big bowl with ice water and set aside. Add some salt (as you would pasta water) and the peas. Bring six cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. You are just going to boil the peas for a very short time. Don't leave the stove. Somewhere between ten and twenty seconds.You want them just barely tender, so they still pop in your - mouth. Quickly drain and dunk the peas in the bowl of ice water.

Just before serving gently toss the peas, lettuce, and pumpkin seeds with about half of the dressing and a couple pinches of salt. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Finish with a pinch or two of your favorite finishing salt.

Serves 2 - 4.

Proper blokes sausage fusilli…with spinach

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver Cook with Jamie

I added sautéed spinach to this recipe and exchanged the white pasta for whole wheat making this a nutritious one pot meal. It turns out that spinach and sausage make a yummy combination.

2 heaped tsp fennel seeds

2 dried chilies crumbled (rep pepper flakes work too)

Olive oil

1 lb 6 oz good quality coarse Italian sausage

½ lb spinach (one bag)

1 Tb dried oregano

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1lb whole wheat fusilli or penne

Sea salt and pepper

1-2 Tb butter

A handful of parmesan

Cook your pasta in a large pan of salted boiling water according to the package instructions. When the pasta has cooked al dente, drain it in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water and toss it in the pan with your sausage.

Bash up the fennel seeds and chilies in a pestle and mortar until coarsely crushed, then put to one side. Slice spinach into ribbons. Heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Remove the sausage casing and put the meat in the pan, really breaking it up using the back of a spoon. Fry for few minutes until the meat starts to color and the fat has rendered slightly, then crush it once more so it resembles coarse mince. Add the bashed-up fennel seeds and chilles and cook on a medium heat for around 5 minutes add the spinach. Stir spinach to coat with the rendered fat and cook until wilted. Stir in your oregano. Add the lemon zest and juice. Turn off the heat.

Coat the pasta in all the lovely flavors then add the butter, Parmesan, and a few spoonfuls of the reserved cooking liquid. Taste and check for seasoning, then serve immediately with a little extra grate Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

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