Produce report: June 12
Broccoli is back on form — nice and tight and reasonably priced — so we are making the most of it in Jo Elwin’s Broccoli, brown rice and cashew salad which is a complete meal and great for work lunches too.
Raw broccoli also makes a nutritious winter pesto — whizz it up with lightly toasted almonds as Delaney Mes does below.
Or delight the kids and roast it instead of steaming it — heat a 200C oven, separate broccoli into even-sized florets, coat generously in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (and lemon juice if you want) and roast on a tray in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes until the florets are flecked with tasty charry bits. Try sprinkling it with parmesan just before serving.
Mushrooms are plentiful and this being winter, we are thinking toasties — to eat alongside a bowl of soup or to serve with a sharp rocket salad. Laurie Black’s taleggio cheese toastie with mushroom takes some beating. Taleggio is an Italian washed rind cow’s cheese that melts beautifully, smells strong but tastes sweet. If you can’t find it, use gruyere or brie. Do try the mushroom filling. It is thickened with breadcrumbs and won’t leave you with a soggy sarnie.
Although you shouldn’t have any trouble buying kumara now (it partners so well with broccoli in soups) there could be supply issues in a few months. A drought in Northland over summer and then flooding during harvest has resulted in a very light crop. Like potatoes, kumara should be stored in a well-ventilated, cool, dark place. Never refrigerate — it will shrivel and may develop a hard core which will not soften during cooking. Storing somewhere too warm is not a good idea either and will lead to sprouting. If you need to keep kumara for long periods, try wrapping each one in newspaper. Rich in vitamin C, iron and calcium, kumara is one of the top three food sources of potassium.
Carrots, brussels sprouts, leeks, parsnips and swedes are all good buys, as are persimmons, satsuma mandarins, pears and local lemons and limes. Navel oranges should be in stores in a couple of weeks.
Definitely different, Farro and farmers’ market shoppers may come across Buddha’s hand citron. These bright yellow, multi-fingered fruits (photo below) are real show-stoppers and their fragrance will perfume a room. Because they are all rind, without seeds, and because they have no bitterness, they are perfect for making candied citrus peel. Otherwise, thin slices can be shaved over salads or fish or tofu. Buddha’s hand is also good in vinaigrettes. Grown locally, they will be with us until July.
Gold tamarillos are also in Farro stores now. They are sweeter and less tart than the reds which, incidentally, are getting cheaper as the season progresses. Visit an Asian food market for even more affordable buys.