Trying New Ingredients

by on May 26th, 2015
Trying New Ingredients Cover Image

I always found spring the hardest season for cooking. Fall has an abundance of squash and sweet potatoes. You can do so much with summer tomatoes and eggplant. But spring, there are lots and lots of greens. And asparagus. You eventually grow tired of both. However, one of my favorite things about the Farmers Market is exploring new ingredients, which matches nicely with one of my favorite things about the library’s cookbook collection: finding new recipes. And through both of these Iowa City institutions, I’ve learned that I am wrong about spring. There are many ingredients available and dishes to make with them.

Why not try broccoli rabe (a.k.a. rapini)? In Lidia’s Favorite Recipes, she sautés the sausage and the broccoli rabe in olive oil and garlic. Fold in some pasta, red pepper flakes, and Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese and you’re in heaven. It is incredibly easy to make and so delicious.

Other great broccoli rabe recipes:

Nettles are pretty fantastic too if you handle them right. They don’t call them stinging nettles for nothing. In Tartine Bread, find a recipe for pizza that calls for tossing the nettles with cream, salt, and red pepper flakes. Top the pizza dough with mozzarella or robiola cheese and the nettles and bake.

Other great nettle recipes:

Garlic scapes will appear very soon. You can eat them many ways, but I especially like them as a pesto. Try Melissa Clark’s recipe, pasta with sugar snap peas, ricotta, and garlic scape pesto from her Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make. It is a refreshing dish for this time of year when the days are warmer and more humid. End your meal with Clark’s rhubarb curd shortbread tart with fresh strawberries.

Other great garlic scape recipes:

So don’t be afraid to try something new because chances are we have a great recipe at the Iowa City Public Library for the kohlrabi and the celeriac.

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