Some pix from this morning at Union Square Greenmarket. Some of what you see in this post will appear in meals throughout this week’s menu.
Strawberries — Simple is best when it comes to in-season strawberries. I like them with cream and a bit of sugar, or with a touch of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of black pepper. Breakfast tip: try a bowl of fromage blanc with strawberries macerated in vanilla sugar and chopped mint.
Sucrine — Rooted in the French word for “sugar,” sucrine (sugar lettuce sounds better) is a smaller variety of romaine with soft, silky leaves, buttery texture, and, as the name suggests, a sweet-ish flavor. You can take the elongated core of the lettuce, peel it, and steam it — it is as delicate as asparagus and just as delicious.
Green garlic — Green garlic is young garlic which is harvested before the cloves have begun to mature. The resulting vegetable resembles a scallion, with a deep green stalk and a pale white bulb. It can often be found for sale at a farmers’ market in the spring, and can also be grown at home relatively easily. Many large grocery stores do not stock green garlic, although growing consumer demand may change this. It can also usually be special ordered through a greengrocer.
Fish from Blue Moon Fish — This vendor sells what has to be the freshest fish in all of New York City. All of the fish that you see in this photo was caught the day before market day and more importantly, comes from local waters — in this case, Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. That pristine block of red flesh at 9 o’clock position is tuna. Scallops can be seen at top right, porgy and monkfish in the right foreground.
Wild arugula — Slightly more peppery than its more familiar cousin, wild arugula is wonderful in pasta or as a salad green. Substitute watercress if unavailable.
Zucchini — These aren’t the out-of-season squashes you see in your supermarket. They’re more tender and succulent, not to mention more flavorful. Cook gently over low heat with a touch of olive oil and garlic, or use in salads. Later in the season, they’re perfect in ratatouille.
Garlic scapes — The garlic scape serves as the stem from which the seed head of the garlic bulb is formed. As the bulb begins to grow and mature, garlic stalks also begin to lengthen. During the growth period, the garlic scape begins to curve. Contained within the garlic scape is a great deal of flavor, although the stalk never does reach the level of the pungent garlic bulb itself. Initially, the garlic scape is relatively tender, making it ideal for use as an ingredient in several dishes. As the plant continues to mature, the garlic scape gradually begins to straighten, creating more support for the bulb. At this juncture, the garlic scape is much tougher and ceases to be usable for most recipes.
First tomatoes of the season
This is about five shiitake mushrooms, sautéed in unsalted butter along with minced garlic scapes and then deglazed with Belgian beer.
Wild mushroom omelette, zucchini with garlic and lemon — The omelette is a simple three-egg omelette with 3 T. shiitake mushroom filling. For the zucchini: sauté thinly sliced garlic in olive oil, then add zucchini and cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Check seasoning, then toss with chopped fresh oregano, parsley and grated lemon zest. Serve immediately.