This time of year, I get a number of inquiries from customers looking for specific items that they’re having difficulties locating from their regular farmers.
This includes things like cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes and green beans.
People are not fully aware of the seasonality behind these “summer” products. This time of year they are all but unavailable, with the exception of a few select growers who have yet to experience frost. Or they produce such crops in hoop-houses or hydroponically in enclosed structures.
The selection of fresh herbs is also much less accessible, with fresh basil being the top request that likely will not appear again until late spring or early summer.
There are some fresh herbs, such as cilantro, rosemary, oregano and thyme that can still be found on a fairly consistent basis throughout the year locally, particularly from our more coastal growers.
Another in abundance, which is related to both celery and carrots (also thriving this time of year), is fresh parsley.
This refreshing winter herb delivers a nice earthy flavor with underlying notes of citrus and clove. It can be incorporated into a host of dishes such as soups and stews, salads, sauces or scrambled eggs.
Parsley is nice when sprinkled over roasted vegetables, pasta dishes and quinoa.
This week I prepared some miso-glazed Japanese turnips infused with a little maple syrup and finished with finely chopped fresh parsley.
Miso-Glazed Japanese Turnips
2 bunches of Japanese turnips (small to medium sized turnips)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons miso paste (either white or sweet)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or substitute honey)
2 teaspoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse the Japanese turnip bulbs and discard the tops, leaving attached about 1-2 inches of the green top towards the root. Also remove the attached root at the base.
Slice the turnips in half lengthwise (unless really petite or quartered if large) and dry.
In a sauté pan, add olive oil and turn to high heat.
Once the pan is hot, add turnips and sear for about 2 minutes on each side, only turning once. Turn off heat.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, add butter, miso paste, syrup and mirin. Mix until well incorporated.
Pour mixture over turnips in sauté pan and toss to coat turnips. Then toss in 1 tablespoon of your finely chopped fresh parsley. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes.
I like to finish under the broiler during the final two minutes.
Garnish with remaining tablespoon of fresh parsley. Serve hot.
Yield: Serves about 4 sides.