Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
Long Pie Pumpkin
Notes from the Farm
I have three thoughts... Long Pie Pumpkin might be the best all around squash, Parsley is woefully misunderstood and underused, and the Balsamic-Red Onion, Chard & Gorgonzola Tart my daughter made last week is maybe the best thing I've eaten all year...
Long Pie Pumpkin, or Nantucket Pumpkin, or Nantucket Squash is easily my favorite winter squash. It is reliably moist, sweet, flavorful and versatile. It has a long cavity, like delicata, and is classified typically as a pumpkin, but, pumpkins are just squashes, and most commercially available pumpkin pies are made out of butternut squash anyway... getting hung up on using pumpkins for pumpkin things and squash for squash things is kinda like saying red and green apples are completely different... I mean, they have their differences, but at the end of the day, and apple is an apple, and a squash is a squash.
You can peel and cube it, cut it length wise and roast it, steam and blend it... there is no wrong way to go with Long Pie Pumpkin. It's been a few years since we've grown it, we used to grow tons of it, and I think maybe, just maybe, we over did our Long Pie Pumpkin fixation... so we grew some more this year, and really, I had forgotten how much I loved it.
Parsley is second only to salt as the secret weapon for well trained chefs. Parsley is often seen as a garnish, and it's a good garnish, but more than that, Parsley tastes fresh. Cut up fine, like really fine, and sprinkled over any dish, and that dish becomes instantly more fresh tasting... somehow... it's amazing. Fresh parsley is one of the most consumed herbs in commercial kitchens because of the way it makes food simply taste more fresh. Cut it up, leaf and stem, and cooked, fold, wilt or apply fresh to your meals, you won't be able to pinpoint the flavor, but it'll ratchet all the flavors of the dish up two and a half notches.
And finally, while we were all mingling during the CSA pickup, Addie, farm daughter, was in the kitchen making a Chard Tart. I found a recipe, and told her to give it a whack... and she whacked the ever-livin' bejeezus out of it. The combinations of sweet caramelized red onion, bitter greens, sharp sour cheese, and buttery crust, make a tremendous unified flavor that is hard to describe. The only substitution we made was with a homemade pie dough crust instead of the puff pastry, otherwise, followed to a T. I've included the recipe below, and I'd recommend you give it a go... just to say you did, and that you weren't out-cooked by a 10 year old...
Balsamic-Red Onion, Chard & Gorgonzola Tart
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 small red onions, halved and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 small bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
All-purpose flour for rolling
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of a 17-oz./530-g package), thawed [we make a buttery pie dough]
1/4 lb. (125 g) Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a fry pan over high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a deep brown, about 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the onions to a bowl.
Return the pan to medium-high heat; do not wipe the pan clean. Warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and add the chard. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, tossing the chard to coat in the oil, just until beginning to wilt, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the onions, toss to combine and let cool.
On a floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 10-by-14-inch (25-by-35-cm) rectangle. Fold over 1 inch (2.5 cm) of each side of the dough to create a border. Fold the dough gently in half, center it on the prepared baking sheet and unfold.
Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Distribute the chard and onion mixture evenly around the tart and top with the cheese, leaving the borders uncovered. Brush the borders of the tart with the egg. Bake until golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve. Serves 4.
Homemade Parsley Salt Recipe
2 cups chopped Parsley
½ cup Maldon sea salt crystals (or some other sea salt)
Place the herbs and salt in a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse grind. Be careful not to make a paste or puree, though.
The salt will preserve the Parsley and provide a delicious ante-upped seasoning.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Paprika Maple Aioli
2 cups medium brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Prepare the brussels by rinsing, removing the stem and cutting in half. Spread them out on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until crispy and browned.
In the meantime, grab a small bowl. Combine the mayo, maple syrup, smoked paprika, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix and set aside until brussels sprouts are roasted.
Serve the crispy brussels sprouts with the aioli on the side.