Cooking From the Market

Photo courtesy of Robert Peyton

The Hollygrove Market and Farm was founded in 2008 to bring fresh produce to the Hollygrove neighborhood and to demonstrate sustainable farming practices on a small scale. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m., there is a retail market at the organization’s 8301 Olive St. home. From its website:

HM&F has developed and operates a CSA-style cooperative and retail market. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  What makes us different is that we bring the farm to the table by making fresh produce available to the consumer without the consumer being required to buy shares in a farm.

At HM&F, in place of members buying shares from a single farm, we buy from a network or collective of small farms and urban growers throughout the region. Our sources consist of backyard growers, community gardens, urban micro-farms in New Orleans, and rural farms throughout southern Louisiana and Mississippi. For consumers, produce is available through the purchase of CSA-style box. Select produce and food items are also available for individual sale through our retail market.

For those who can’t make it to the market, HM&F has a home delivery service. The website even has advice on how to store your produce once you’ve gotten it home.

I’ve been visiting the market off and on since it opened. The $25 box is always substantial and presents me with a challenge: to cook everything I’ve purchased before the next market rolls around. This past weekend the haul included bunches of beet and collard greens, turnips, spring onions, blood oranges, grapefruit, button mushrooms, strawberries, turnips, mint, and a few other items I’m forgetting. You can also purchase a selection of individual items a la carte, including more produce, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, bread, chicken, pork and goat. This week in addition to eggs, goat cheese and a baguette, I spotted a small bag of broccoli flowers on offer for 50 cents. I couldn’t resist.

As I said, every week it’s a challenge to cook everything I pick up at the market. It’s a challenge I enjoy and one that results in more fresh fruits and vegetables on my table. Sometimes it requires me to cook things just to make sure they don’t go to waste. This past weekend, for example, I cooked the beet greens I’d bought at the market on Saturday evening because they were beginning to wilt. We didn’t eat them that night, and on Sunday morning I made a quick breakfast dish using the greens. With the exception of an onion I picked up at Rouses, the olives, salt, pepper and some dried chile, the frittata included nothing but things I bought at the market.

This is not the kind of recipe that you can just whip up in a few minutes on a weekday morning – unless, of course, you’ve already got cooked greens on hand. I’ll provide the recipe in two stages, just as I cooked it.

Beet Green, Goat Cheese and Broccoli Flower Frittata

A frittata is an egg dish that differs from an omelet in two significant ways. First, the eggs are not folded; the stuffing is cooked into the omelet, and it’s finished under the broiler. Second, the ratio of “filling” to eggs is weighted towards the filling. If a traditional French omelet is more about the eggs, a frittata (or a tortilla in Spanish cuisine) is about the filling. This recipe uses the small yellow flowers of broccoli, which, perhaps not surprisingly, taste like broccoli. Obviously that’s not an ingredient you can find at your local supermarket, so feel free to omit or to substitute something like fresh parsley, chives or anything else that will cook pretty rapidly. To start, make the beet greens. 

Beet Greens with Blood Orange and Chile

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of dried red chile flakes

1 bunch beet greens, washed and chopped
5-6 pitted kalamata olives, halved length-wise and sliced thinly
1 blood orange, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot that has a tight-fitting cover, sauté the onion in the olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and the chile flakes, and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add the washed greens, the olives and about 1/4 cup of the blood orange juice; stir to coat the greens thoroughly; and then cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally for around 20 to 30 minutes, adding a little more juice if it gets too dry. Season with salt and pepper, and either serve immediately or reserve for the frittata. You should end up with around 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of greens.

For the Frittata:

Cooked beet greens
5-6 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup broccoli flowers
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
 
Drain the greens to remove as much braising liquid as possible. Warm the greens on medium-low heat in an 8-inch non-stick pan that you can place under the broiler. Let them cook until they’re thoroughly heated and most of the residual liquid has evaporated. You want them moist, but too much liquid will prevent the eggs from setting properly. Clean and remove any large stems from the broccoli flowers. Season the beaten eggs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Preheat your broiler.

When most of the liquid in the greens has evaporated, add the eggs and stir a bit to incorporate everything. Let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes, and then add the broccoli flowers, and stir again. Add the cheese by squeezing off small bits into the setting eggs, and stir gently. You don’t want to incorporate the cheese into the mixture; it’s better to have distinct clumps of the cheese distributed through the frittata. Continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, and then place under the broiler for a couple of minutes. You want the top to lightly brown and puff up a little, but be careful. Overcooked eggs make the Easter Bunny cry.

Remove the pan from the oven, and let the frittata rest for a minute or three, and then either slice and serve, or allow it to cool. Frittatas are typically served at room temperature.

If you haven’t been to the Hollygrove Market, you should check it out. It’s a great place to bring the kids on a Saturday morning. You can tour the gardens and learn about where some of the food you’ll bring home was grown. Call HM&F at 504/483-7037 for more information.
 

Categories: Haute Plates, Restaurants

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