Courgette Carpaccio. Who knew?
I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to farmer’s markets and roadside stands. I “purchase first” and then pore over recipes later to prepare whatever it is that I have tossed into my tote. This usually works out well for the family.
Roadside stands around here are touting South Carolina Freestone Peaches (peaches in which the stone falls away “freely”) and so we have indulged in a quarter-bushel at a time. But I have also been intrigued with a ginormous pile of Runner Beans. I asked for a portion for two persons and was naturally handed a bag with a “good for four people” size, along with two potatoes.
The “Where Y’all From?” moment happened when I asked the farmer what the potatoes were for. Detecting my non-Southernness, it was explained to me that I should cook the beans with the potatoes and a ham hock. With cornbread on the side, natch.
Going full-on City-Slicker, I then asked if I could blanch the beans and freeze them, as a Runner Bean, Ham Hock and Cornbread meal sounded decidedly unappetizing in Summer. Of course! But I must “string” the beans first.
I surprised myself; I “stringed” the two pound bag in about thirty minutes. The lot was blanched, split into four portions, and tucked into the freezer. A little digging into Runner Bean history informed me that this fisole originated in Central America and made its way around the globe. One cultivar is the Austrian Käferbohnen, a large, red Lima-bean like legume that I did not experiment with too much.
A whirl down the Pinterest hole turned up recipes for Sri Lankan Runner Bean Curry; a toss with Proscuitto and Pasta; and a Stir-fry with Hazelnuts, so we won’t be facing four meals of Beans and Ham Hocks, thankfully.
I also purchased (probably too many) Vidalia onions. Is that possible?
A Southern Classic: Vidalia Onion Pie.
The sulphur content of Georgia soil renders this onion (grown only within the state) sweet enough to be eaten like an apple, though personally that does not sound appealing at all.
Sliced and layered into a savory pie with sharp Irish Cheddar and cream added much more appeal. Paired with a salad, and dinner was done.
Keeping it Southern. Steamed Crawfish for my first ever Crawfish and Grits. The snap was terrible but the meal was heavenly.
A necessary health fix. Stir-fried greens, Bok choy and soba noodles. Tossed with a garlic-ginger sauce. Restorative.
“Fries.” One worked; one was gross. Gotta eat something during Pandemic Happy Hour, so it might as well be healthy.
A neighbor kindly (?) shared a bumper crop of their Courgette with us. We really wanted to love Zucchini “Fries,” with their crusty Panko exterior, but the slimy insides made this snack a no bueno.
A monochromatic snap of a polychromatic flavor feast. Polenta “fries” tossed and baked with garlic, served with something called “Cowboy Caviar” that I found at Trader Joes. A much tastier “Fries” experience.
Back to the Zucchini.
Make. This. Recipe. Now. Thin slices of zucchini “carpaccio-ed” in lemon juice layered upon thin slices that had been “fried” in a non-stick. Top it all with shallots, chopped mint and basil; add a scattering of toasted pine nuts and your favorite shaved hard cheese, and call it Lunch. Or Dinner, if you add crusty bread. We made it twice in one week.
I close with another terrible photo (I really need to take a food snapping course) of…Panfried Sea Bass with Harissa and Rose. A little garlic alongside, deglazed with a splash of wine, and we non-nommed this delish dish with steamed Jasmine rice.
Until next time.