From the Farmer’s Market: Heirloom Radishes and Green Garlic

Most trips to the local farmer’s market result in me coming home with at least one item that I have no idea what to do with.  I like to try new things, and items that I haven’t cooked with much or ever.  Last week I purchased some heirloom radishes and green garlic (which kind of looks just like a green onion, but with a garlicky taste) at the Green City Market from Leaning Shed Farm in Michigan.  I made two recipes with the green garlic, but only used the radishes in the pasta salad.

I was never really a radish person, but now that I’ve been using them in different ways, I think I like!  Plus the variety of colors and sizes of these heirloom radishes made the dish look so pretty too.  The sauce was wonderful too – it smelled so good when I made it with all those fresh herbs!  *Disclaimer:  this recipe made an obscene amount for two people, we were eating it for days.  I’d cut the recipe in half if you’re serving it as a side.  Also, the escarole was a little bitter when paired with the spicy radishes.  I think that a crisp Romaine would be an adequate substitute, and would still hold up for leftovers.

Spring Pasta Salad with Escarole, Radishes and Peas, adapted from Whole Foods

3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta
3 cups sugar snap peas                                                                                                                      1 head escarole, torn into bite-size pieces
1 bunch spring radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 green garlic shoots (or green onions), thinly sliced or diced

Put sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, chives, dill, green garlic or onions and parsley into a small bowl and whisk together to make a dressing. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cook pasta according to directions on package. When pasta is almost ready to be drained, quickly drop the pea pods into the water with the pasta, stir once and then drain everything together into a colander. Once drained, transfer the hot pasta and peas to a large bowl. Add escarole, radishes, and reserved dressing and toss well. Serve immediately.

That’s some Sweet William I also picked up at the farmer’s market in the background – one week later and it still looks great!

The second recipe I made was a warm pasta dish.  You can also substitute green onions for the green garlic in this dish.  I think it would also be good with ramps though, if they’re in season.

Orecchiette with Sautéed Greens and Green Garlic Sauce, adapted from Food & Wine

3/4 pound orecchiette pasta

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 bunch of green garlic or scallions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3/4 cup dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

One 5-ounce bag of baby arugula

6 large Swiss chard leaves, stems and central ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped

1 cup fresh peas (blanched or microwaved for  60 seconds)

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sliced green garlic and garlic and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook over moderate heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water and puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Season the green garlic  sauce with salt and pepper.

Wipe out the pasta pot and heat the olive oil in it. Add the arugula and Swiss chard; cook over high heat until wilted, 5 minutes. Add the pasta, scallion sauce and the reserved pasta cooking water and simmer, tossing and stirring, until the sauce is thick, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone, season the pasta with salt and pepper and serve.

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