While browsing through a box of recipe cards (yes, recipe cards!) from my Mother I came across a few of my own from the 80’s. Food trends come and go—Matcha, acaí bowls and avocado toast are currently popular—and the 80’s were no exception. Quiche, blackened anything and spinach dip were all the rage as was salsa. Salsa became a staple, it gained in popularity as chefs tweaked and played with flavors. Tropical salsas, (hello Wolfgang Puck!) typically paired with the blackened fish, were de rigueur. I don’t remember where I found this recipe, but I made it often. Feeling nostalgic this holiday season, I thought I would revisit and add a few ingredients to bump up the flavor.
Simple to make, this relish is an easy last-minute appetizer or condiment for that turkey sandwich on Friday. We enjoy our Thanksgiving meal at dinner time, so for lunch it’s our tradition to have heavy appetizers. I will add this salsa to our lunch feast alongside homemade persimmon chips and root vegetable chips such as these from Terra Chips.
Growing up, my Mother prepared a lot of cabbage. Stuffed (Galumpki), slaw and soup to name a few. I’m not sure if it was a result of her Polish heritage or that it is a hearty and economical vegetable but it was often on our table.
Farmers’ Markets are overflowing with cruciferous vegetables this time of year. Cabbage, both green and red, broccoli and cauliflower are abundant. On Thursday I noticed the first romanesco , a vibrant Dr. Suess looking vegetable.
Don’t let the word “coulis” scare you from making this. Coulis (koo-lee) is just a fancy word for “a sauce made with puréed vegetables or fruit and used as a base or garnish”. This coulis is at the heart of spring cooking and it’s simple to make. Many of the ingredients are readily available at farmers markets this time of year.
Ever heard of green garlic? What started out as farmers thinning their rows of garlic to allow the bulbs to fully mature, has turned into a wildly popular and sought after ingredient. When very young, green garlic looks similar to green onions. As the weeks pass, they grow bigger and start to look like young leeks, eventually turning into heads of garlic. This photo shows both green garlic (the bottom two) and spring onions, available in red and white, purchased from the Thursday Marin Famers’ Market one week apart. As you can see, both have doubled in size.
Green garlic makes a cameo appearance for a few weeks from late winter to early spring. Unlike the papery skinned onions and garlic bulbs you see at the grocery store, green garlic has a short shelf life. Since they haven’t matured the flavor is much more mild and can be used raw without being overpowering.
My go-to use of these marvelous alliums is this; slice green garlic, spring onions, and leeks. Sauté in olive oil on low heat so that the vegetables soften without taking on any color. With this mixture on hand, I can add it to many dishes to enhance flavor. A few of my favorite ways to use it is to add to omelets, soups and when puréed, spread on a sandwich.
We drizzled this coulis (well, I slathered it) over wild salmon. Delicious! The coulis can also be used as a dip for vegetables, as salad dressing (a hit with my family) or with chicken.