First Harvest & Easy Weeknight Eats

41914_firstharvestLeave it to mint to withstand one of the hardest winters this gardener has experienced since moving from Michigan to Philly nearly 20 years ago. A winter so miserable, in fact, that it killed off the very thyme first featured in one of POD’s very first posts.

Moment of silence, please.

Thank you — moving on to dinner. Once again, the marvelous Moro comes to the rescue with this quick, easy, bright, meat-light, almost-pantry (in a pinch, the prosciutto could be optional — or you could use bacon or ham, I suppose.)

41914_ingredientlist(More than less) From Moro: The Cookbook, by Sam and Sam Clark

Sopa de guisantes
Pea Soup with Jamon and Mint

4 tbs olive oil [POD used 2 tbs]
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh [plant a bay plant, easy indoor mascot, so worth it]
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
150g [5 oz] jamon serrano (cured ham), finely chopped [see photo for POD’s version]
1 small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
500 g [just over a pound] podded peas, fresh or frozen [who can find a pound of fresh, in-season peas, ever? Frozen are fine, fresh would surely be divine.]
1 litre chicken stock [appx. 4 c.]
sea salt and black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat, add the onion, and when it has turned golden add the carrot and bay leaves. Continue to fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic, two-thirds of the jamon and half the mint. Give everything a good stir, fry for another minute or so, then add the peas. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the stock. Simmer gently until the peas are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Ladle the peas and stock into a food processor or liquidiser [immersion blender, thank you] and process until smooth. Return to the pan, season with salt and pepper and add the remaining mint. Serve with the rest of the jamon on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil.


Fresh Eats

Not that there’s much on deck just yet, but the bounty out front is nicely rewarding. The unusually cool spring meant a bumper crop of Swiss chard in containers usually reserved for flowery-type things.

swiss chard pastaHappily, all this chard makes for quick, cheap, and easy [well, easy for me — the chief cook now insists on making his own pasta — not that it isn’t absolutely out-of-sight delicious] vegetarian dinner.

Simply saute the chard (diced and sliced into thin ribbons, as above) in a little olive oil with a couple cloves of thinly sliced garlic. Let it get good and wilty. The stalks should crunch a little, but not taste completely raw. This takes just a touch longer than sauteing spinach. Then toss in a little lemon zest. Serve over the pasta of your choice. No, you can’t have the hubby’s pasta. Sprinkle with a hard cheese of your choice and pepper to taste.