Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vegetable Feature: Tomatillos and Edamame

By Chef Andrea
     One of our featured vegetables this week is the tomatillo…which technically is a fruit!  Tomatillos, while most similar to a tomato, are very unique in their own way.  The fruit is hidden inside a husk that looks like a little paper lantern.  Tomatillos are ready to pick when they’ve nearly filled out their husk.
     Tomatillos have a mild flavor that is slightly tart and sometimes fruity.  They can be eaten raw or cooked and are most commonly used in southwestern or Mexican cuisine along with ingredients such as jalapeños, poblano peppers, cilantro, onions, garlic and limes.  Salsa verde is probably the most common use for tomatillos, but they have a wide variety of other uses as well.  Tomatillos may be added to soups or stews as well as blended into dressings or sauces where their natural pectin acts as a thickener.  Chunk them up and add them to a raw pepper and tomato salad or make a chunky fresh salsa along with other summer vegetables and serve it with grilled chicken or fish.
Tomatillos are best stored at about 50°F, but can be stored on your counter for several days or in a paper bag in the refrigerator.  Remove the husk before using and wash to remove the sticky film on the fruit.  If you aren’t ready to use your tomatillos this week, you can remove the husk and pop them in the freezer in their raw form.

Roasted Tomatillo & Apple Salsa

Yield: 3 ½ cups

1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 green apples, such as Granny Smith, quartered
2 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
½ of a medium onion
2 jalapeño peppers, stem removed
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Place the tomatillos, apples, garlic, onion and jalapeños on a baking sheet.  Toss with the olive oil, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper.  Roast in the oven until the tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 20 minutes.
2.  Peel the garlic.  Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and season as needed with additional salt and pepper.

We sampled this recipe at our Harvest Party last fall, complements of a Madison CSA member who was willing to share the recipe with us!

     Edamame is a fresh soybean that has grown in familiarity and popularity in the United States over the past few years, but has been a part of Japanese and Chinese cuisine for much longer.  True edamame intended for fresh eating is quite different than oil-seed soybeans used for making tofu and other processed soy products.  The edamame varieties we grow were developed specifically because they produce a sweet bean that doesn’t have a “beany” aftertaste.
     Edamame resemble a small lima bean encased in a pod.  The beans are sweet and tender and best eaten lightly cooked. It is easiest to cook edamame in its pod and then remove them from the pod.  Edamame is hard to shell when it’s raw.  To cook edamame, first rinse the pods thoroughly with cold water. Boil in heavily salted boiling water for 5-6 minutes, then drain under cold water to cool immediately.  After the beans are cooked squeeze the pod to pop the beans out.  Please note the pod is not edible and should be discarded!
      You can also roast edamame in their pods.  Toss the edamame pods with oil and seasonings of your choice.  Spread the seasoned edamame on a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven until the bean is tender.  Serve the beans whole with their pods still on.  While you won’t eat the pod, you can use your teeth to pull the edamame out of the pod and in the process you’ll pick up the seasoning on the outside of the shell!
     If you are interested in preserving edamame for later use, simply follow the cooking procedure above, cool and freeze the beans either in their pods or remove them and freeze just the bean. You can store the edamame for up to a week in the refrigerator, but it is best to eat them soon for the sweetest flavor and best texture.

Quinoa Bites with Kale & Edamame

Photo borrowed from natural foods blogger Heidi Swenson

Yield: 2 dozen mini bites

Unsalted butter
2½ cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten
scant ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ cup crumbled feta
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup very finely chopped kale
½ cup shelled edamame
¾ cup breadcrumbs
To serve: avocado, chives

1.  Preheat oven to 375°F with a rack in the top third.
2.  Butter mini-muffin tins generously.  Line each muffin cup with a strip of parchment paper in each indent, this makes popping the bites out of the pan after either baking or freezing simple.
3.  Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the onion, feta, garlic, kale, and edamame. Stir in most of the breadcrumbs, and let sit for a few minutes so the breadcrumbs can absorb some of the moisture. Fill the prepared muffin tins with the quinoa mixture, pressing the mixture down, and then sprinkling with the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until baked through and deeply golden crusted.
4.  Remove the quinoa bites from the pans after a few minutes. Enjoy either hot, or at room temperature spread with salted avocado and lots of chopped chives.

Recipe borrowed from Heidi Swanson’s blog,

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