Chino Farm

Sunday, April 6, 2014




"When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is." - Alice Waters


This post began with idea of taking a short visit down to Chino Farm. We would buy some produce and cook a very simple lunch showcasing whatever seasonal gems I settled on. If you're familiar with Chino Farm, then you know how difficult it is to make a selection from the bounty of perfect produce at their vegetable stand. The rare heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables are as beautiful as they are delicious.

This visit is no exception; I pace the length of the vegetable stand unable to make up my mind. I hand my straw basket to the woman standing behind the rainbow of produce. She fills it with purple carrots, florescent pink radishes and a pint of sweet French strawberries amongst much else. As we drive away my head flutters with meal ideas. The plan to make a simple lunch quickly evolves into the undertaking of a larger family feast.

It seems only fitting that I make a recipe of Alice Waters'. I decide on this salad, as well as, a frittata with rainbow chard and Parmesan cheese. A loaf of crusty bread, a wedge of table cheese and a simple pasta tossed with baby Brussels sprouts, lemon zest and juice, chili flakes and good olive oil will provide the remainder of the meal. And for dessert, those sweet French strawberries alongside a piece of dark chocolate. I get to cooking, our family arrives, we eat and clean up. It was a simple meal as planned, but ended up tasting better in good company.


Frittata with Chard and Parmesan
 
This frittata is classic Italian fare – simple yet delicious when properly prepared. I imagine this recipe could be infinitely adaptable with whatever seasonal vegetable you choose.


Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bunch rainbow or Swiss chard
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 eggs
salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

With a knife, separate the stems of the chard from the leafs. Select 3 or 4 stems; trim away any bruised parts; then chop into about 1/2 inch pieces. Chop the chard leafs and set aside.

In a medium ovenproof skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped chard stems, season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chard leafs and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until wilted but not completely cooked.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk the eggs until light and foamy. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and half of the cheese. Pour the eggs into the pan with the chard. Stir just so the chard and egg are evenly distributed; then let the eggs sit 1-2 minutes, or until the edges are just set. Sprinkle the top of the eggs with the remaining cheese. Use oven mitts to transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the center of the eggs are set. Remove from the oven, let sit 2 minutes; then serve warm or at room temperature.

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