07 June 2009

Farmers' Market Pasta

Are you like me and totally tempted by just about every vegetable that you come across at the farmers' markets you visit? Do vegetables of every shape and color find their way into your bags without a real recipe or purpose in mind? If so, you must be like me. I am a complete sucker for anything fresh, unusual and vegetable. Of course this early in the growing season, there isn't a huge variety of produce available at the markets, but there are several items that only make a brief appearance. I have already mentioned my undying affection for asparagus, but there are other goodies to be found - like garlic scapes (in fact I described cooked garlic scapes to niece as reminding me of garlicky green beans, and she kept asking me when she could taste the ice skates. I was so confused until I realized she was talking about garlic scapes!) and the first baby kale of the season. Of course there are green onions popping up everywhere and lots of tasty chive blossoms... all vegetables that say spring to me.

After a recent market trip, I came home with much of the aforementioned springtime bounty. I was contemplating the various ways I could use them when I remembered a recent post I saw by Lisa the Waitress at Restaurant Widow. Her post was a simple market lunch with tempting, golden egg yolks that left an impression on me. When I was younger, I loved fried eggs with soft, runny yolks where I would liberally dunk my toast. But as an adult, I couldn't quite get past the thought of the uncooked egg yolks and the potential for an accidental bite of blobby, raw egg white. Thankfully in the past year, I have reacquired my taste for runny yolks. I am no longer afraid of the incidental undercooked egg white (although I do avoid that connundrum by cooking my eggs properly). In fact I have such a love for runny yolks at the moment that even poached eggs tempt me, which never did in my childhood.

Which leads me to my next digression... did you take home economics at any point in your schooling? It was a required class for me in middle school, and I can honestly say I learned a few important life lessons. I can re-attach a button to just about anything - and do it correctly, and I can poach an egg like an eggspert. I used to come home and practice on my dad by making him French toast (another recipe I learned in home ec) with poached eggs. He loved it, and I LOVED cooking it for him. I didn't eat French toast or poached eggs at the time, so I got all of my enjoyment out of making something my dad liked to eat. I am sure this is one of the many experiences that led me to enjoying cooking more for others than for myself.

Anyway, back to the market produce and golden egg yolks. I decided to make a quick miso based pasta dish full of bright green vegetables and topped with two perfectly poached eggs. It was heaven on a plate. I loved that lunch so much that I ate nearly the exact same lunch the following day. I could eat it again right now. It was that good. Instead of listing amounts, I will just let you know what I threw together and you can hopefully be inspired to create something similar.

- sesame oil
- green onions, sliced into 1-2" pieces
- sweet yellow onion, sliced
- serrano chiles, roughly chopped
- asparagus, sliced into 1-2" pieces
- garlic scapes, sliced into 1-2" pieces
- baby kale, roughly chopped
- cilantro, roughly chopped
- angel hair pasta, freshly cooked, cooking water reserved
- super fresh eggs, poached in the reserved pasta cooking water

Mix together the following and set aside:
- 1/4 cup marsala wine
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar

The veggies (all except kale and cilantro) get browned in the skillet with the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale, then the miso mixture and cook for another minute or two until kale is wilted. Then add cooked pasta with a little bit of the cooking water if the pan looks dry. Top with a poached egg or two and enjoy.


HoneyB said...

I think I would love this...but without the egg. I am not a big egg eater. I have never seen garlic scapes around here and possibly the only place I could find them would be a farmers market - which is always going on when I am at work. Go figure that one!

Josie said...

That stinks about your farmers' market! We have one nearly every day of the week in nearby communities/suburbs, so if I miss the big one on Saturday morning I can get to one on another day.

I am not sure what I would sub for garlic scapes - maybe green onion tops with green beans with garlic ? :)