Sunday, May 29, 2011

CSA Box + Iron Chef Style Challenge = Dinner

This season, I signed up for a CSA with Riverview Farms.  They came very highly recommended (Thanks Pattie and Kathy F!).  Honestly, we have been in a bit of a rut.  While I love what we grow and what we typically eat, we aren't really trying anything outside of the raised bed box.  And, I am getting a little bored.  So, I decided to get inside the box- the CSA box- with the hope of trying some new stuff to spice up our usual routine. 

My mom collected the first box for me on Wednesday because I was occupied at the hospital with my son's surgery.  When he was released from the hospital on Thursday, I couldn't wait to get home and see what was inside that box!  I know.  Priorities, right?

The first box came with the following:
  • Radishes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Lettuce (Romaine?)
  • Arugula
  • Pak Choi
  • Collards

I think that's all of it.  So, I quickly began thinking of what I could do with all that luscious produce.  And, it was luscious, let me tell you.  This is what I came up with for the first night:

Radish, Onion and Shrimp Salad
This recipe serves 4, but can easily be tweaked for additional or fewer servings.

  • 6 radishes, scrubbed, cut length-wise into thick matchsticks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 shallots
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined and skewered
  • Spike seasoning
  • Maytag Blue Cheese to taste (I used half of one wedge)
  • 1/3 cup sweetened, dried cranberries
  • 1 head of lettuce, washed and ripped into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups (approximate) arugula, washed, large pieces torn
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Part 1:  Radish and Onions
Take the sliced onions and matchstick radishes and toss them with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, a large pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Once everything is coated, put it on a large baking sheet and spread it all out.  Roast this in the oven for 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Part 2:  Make the Dressing
Finely dice the 3 shallots, set aside.  In a container large enough to fit a whisk (I use a 2 cup measuring cup), add the red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard.  Whisk.  As you are whisking, drizzle in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil very slowly to make an emulsion.  Add the finely diced shallots.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Part 3:  Grill the Shrimp
You should have about 6 shrimp per skewer.  Shake some spike onto the shrimp and grill.  Shrimp will cook very quickly.  You should only need about 3-4 minutes per side.  Take care not to over-cook them.  Once they have finished, set them aside.

Part 4:  Assemble the Salad - serves 4
Arrange the salad greens and arugula on each plate.  Top the greens on each plate with evenly divided portions of the roasted onions and radishes.  Top the onion/radish mix with a sprinkle of Maytag blue cheese and sweetened, dried cranberries.  Dress with 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing.  Serve with the shrimp on the side.

It was delicious and filling and just what I was hoping for.  I don't think I would have thought to put the onions and radishes together if they hadn't come in the box together.  And, the desire to want to use the produce before it goes bad is forcing me to get creative and cook beyond the boundaries of a recipe.  In fact, I found the challenge fun!  It's as if I am having my own Iron Chef CSA Challenge right in my kitchen!  Next up, conquer the Pak Choi...

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