Summer Markets and Greens
July 3, 2016
All summer long--and into the winter--I talk about my experiences at farmers' markets and how my eyes are always bigger than my stomach (bigger than my refrigerator as well, I find out when I get home). I am a sucker for the seductive call of a market stall.
On a recent Monday we went to the Sorauren Market in order to redeem some of our vouchers for Monforte cheese. While DinoVino WineScribe dealt with the cheeses, I wandered the market. I never take a list with me. How could I when I don't know who will be there or what they'll be offering? But strawberries were definitely on my mind, and I bought three quarts.
Now, my M.O. at a market is to spread the wealth. I feel it is my duty to ensure that every stall makes a sale. Goodness knows that rationally I am aware that there are other customers; I am not the sole support of all the farmers who have made the trip into town that day. But rational thought has nothing to do with it. I visit every stall and make it a point to buy something at each one, even if it's only a bunch of radishes.
At my last stall that day, my bags already filled with every variety of lettuce known to man, I looked for something different to buy. The sweet farmer-girl said, Well, we have these bunches of stir-fry greens, all kinds mixed together. Sold, I said. I didn't even ask what greens made up the bunch--the luck of the draw, the catch of the day.
I cooked the greens in two batches, on two separate days. The first time I chopped and sauteed an onion and a couple of garlic cloves in olive oil, along with slices of one of our favourite Italian sausages (from Sorella in the Junction). I threw in the mixed greens, roughly chopped, added a couple tablespoons of water and some salt and pepper, and cooked the greens, covered, until they were almost tender. Then I broke two eggs on top of the greens and cooked them, covered, for four or five minutes more. Delicious.
The next day's dish-o-greens was fancier. The usual onion and garlic, yes, then the greens, with salt and pepper (no sausage this time). While the greens cooked I mixed a little heavy cream, an egg yolk, and some of the Monforte herbed fresh cream cheese, thinned with a bit of milk. When the greens were almost tender I added a quarter cup of white wine to them and turned the heat higher for a few minutes to cook off the wine then stirred in the cream mixture. This all went into a gratin dish and I sprinkled on a handful of grated Parmesan cheese, then baked it for 20 minutes until the Parmesan was golden. I could have broken eggs on top of this before adding the cheese, but I didn't, since I'd already done the eggy version the day before. Maybe next time.