My little cousin has come for a visit from Los Angeles. It's her first time to New York and yesterday I took her to the Greenmarket in Union Square. I wanted to introduce her to a few things and show off all of our beautiful produce. She was pretty informed though I must admit, not like those kids you see on the telly who know nothing about food. She is very knowledgable, only a few things wowed her. Things like the multi colored radishes, the red and yellow carrots, a few of the lesser known berries, those sorts of things.
The market has been in full swing lately, I would say there is about 40 stalls. Berries are finally here; cherries, currants, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries & gooseberries. We bought some fresh peas and made a summer risotto with some fresh arugula on top. She loved it, so it's kid friendly guys! She also shelled all the peas! She was fast like someone doing prep work in a restaurant! I was impressed :)
Fresh Pea Risotto with Arugula & Parmesan
2 cups of arborio rice
4 baby leeks
3 cloves of garlic
5 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup of white wine
1 pound of fresh shell peas
fresh thyme and rosemary
sea salt and pepper
butter and olive oil
In a large deep pan on medium heat add one tablespoon butter and a drizzle of olive oil to coat. Add thinly sliced leeks (light green parts, washed) and two cloves smashed garlic. Add a spring of fresh rosemary and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Leave herbs on their stems because you will remove it later. Once leeks are tender add two cups of arborio. Saute for a minute then add a cup of dry white wine. Allow to reduce, there are two ways you can do this. You can either add all the stock and wait for it to reduce while stirring often or slowly add stock stirring until dissolved and adding more until finished. The whole process takes about 30-40 minutes.
While that is cooking remove peas from the pods. Blanch in salted boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. Shock in cold water and return to a pan with just a touch of butter and salt. Plate risotto and spoon over fresh peas. Freshly shaved parmesan cheese and a some arugula that could be lightly dressed with lemon, olive oil and salt. Having the nice greens on top cuts the richness a bit and gives it a nice balance.
Okay, you got me. I am obsessed with taking photos of vegetables. Is it getting boring?
There is something about eating fresh vegetables during the summer. I love it and can't seem to get enough. Most vegetables with a little good olive oil, pinch of salt and a splash of citrus makes me a happy girl. When vegetables are fresh they don't need much work. I think people get intimidated by the size and their overbearing leaves and being covered in dirt. Most would look at a big bunch of fennel and say "What the heck am I supposed to do with that?". Well it's easy guys and here's how.
Shaved Baby Fennel with Herbs
1 bunch of baby fennel (any size is fine)
fresh herbs (I used chives, oregano, & thyme from my garden)
good olive oil
good salt (I used Balinese pyramids for a fishing salt)
fresh ground pepper
Trim the tops off the fennel bulbs. Remove outer leaves and rinse any dirt. Using a mandolin on the finest setting thinly slice. Place into a bowl, add two tablespoons olive oil, pinch of salt and fresh herbs. You can also add a few of the fennel fronds. Add the zest and juice of one lemon. Mix and adjust to preferred taste. You can eat this plain or mix it with greens. Adding a good finishing salt at the end really is lovely. The salt crystals slowly melt on your tongue creating a burst of flavors. I Love salt, don't use crappy salts, they taste bad. If you like some freshly grated Parmesan on here would be great as well. Lemon + Salt + Vegetable + Olive Oil + Cheese = Bliss