This meal wouldn’t have begun as it did if I hadn’t spotted those fava beans.
While shopping at Buon Italia this afternoon I happened to see two or three still-unopened bright green pods on plates lying on the wooden dining table near the back of the store. This was the corner where the owner’s own family and workers take their mid-day meal. Along with half a loaf of one of those familiar Italian Easter breads with the embedded eggs, the fava were among the remains of what appeared to have been a beautiful seasonal lunch just ended. I assumed the beans had come from the large greengrocer across the hall, and immediately headed over there to find out.
Every year at the greenmarket I discover I’ve somehow missed out on the earliest tender beans (which require no cooking) and I have to resign myself to the long preparation process needed to enjoy the pleasures of this ancient legume. This spring it may look like I’ve finally gotten ahead of the game, but I think the folks who bring our local bounty to Union Square will still be keeping the youngest, tenderest stock all for themselves.
This was the last dinner to include any ingredients from the modest cache of fish, meat and vegetables I brought home from the Greenmarket last Wednesday. I planned the meals in an order related to the perishability of the individual parts of the larder I had gathered that day. On Monday I had finally gotten to the parsnips, and they were definitely the sweetest roots I’d ever tasted: New England candy.
- pork chops from deBreton in Quebec, purchased at Garden of Eden, seared, then oven-roasted with lemon, covered with pieces of torn radicchio minutes before being removed from the oven; accompanied by roasted parsnips (fresh-dug, overwintered, from Windfall Farms at the Greenmarket) sprinkled with cut parsley
- wine: Willm Pinot Gris 2008 Vin d’Alsace from Phillipe Wine
- two Basque cheeses, Garroxta from Spain and Petite Basque from France, accompanied by slices of Ciabatta from Sullivan Street Bakery, everything purchased at Garden of Eden
- Turkish figs and almonds
- wine with the last two courses: Cossart Gordon Rainwater Madeira
It may be difficult to assemble a meal from a “greenmarket” at this time of year, but it’s not impossible. All of the major ingredients of the main course of this dinner were purchased in Union Square last Wednesday, March 17.
- one roasted small (14 oz.) rack of goat from Lynn Haven Dairygoats of Pine Bush, New York, purchased at the Union Square Greenmarket, which had been marinated in garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, juniper, pepper and oil, and finished with a pan sauce of white wine and stock; accompanied with simple roasted chunks of Robertson’s Golden Ball (Brassica Rapa) turnips, mixed into a bowl after removal them from the oven with oil, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and ground coriander, from Windfall Farms of Montgomery, New York, purchased at the Greenmarket as well; and, also from the Greenmarket, a halved tomato from Shushan Valley Hydro Farm which was briefly pan-roasted with the goat
- cheese course: slices from a very special artisan Parmigiano Reggiano Vache Rosse from BuonItalia, in the Chelsea Market, and some Garroxta from Garden of Eden, served with toasted thin slices of Whole Wheat Pan Loaf from Our Daily Bread in the Union Square Greenmarket
- wine: Le Couvent de Chateau Peyros 1995 Madiran (Corbère-Abères), from Wine Messenger