Better Living Through Local Food
By Katherine Rossmoore
A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune of visiting the indoor farmer’s market in Marshfield. Despite the cold rainy day, there was quite a crowd there! The new manager, Lorrie Gammp Dahlen, deserves credit! I knew I wanted to check out some root veggies (might be next Blog feature… hint, hint) but I was pleased to find Marta McFarland’s Rise n Shine Farm selling greens from other local farms in addition to her own produce, so I picked up a bag of spinach and a bag of “braising greens”. I then discovered a local Marshfield fisherman was selling haddock from a cooler, inspired to re-create a dish that I used to make regularly long ago when I lived on the Cape.
One of the keys to effectively using local fresh vegetables is to stock certain items in your pantry or refrigerator, like tamari sauce, (a wheat-free soy sauce), fresh ginger root, rice wine vinegar, lemons, onions, olive oil and garlic. With these ingredients, it’s simple to create a variety of delicious and flavorful “green” dishes. I also like to have toasted sesame oil on hand, but it’s not essential for this spinach and haddock dish.
I have to admit, this dish is something that I always “wing it” with, so I don’t have an exact recipe. In my opinion, this type of cooking is the easiest and most fun.
So here’s what I did:
Haddock Steamed on a Bed of Greens
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed, to taste
1-2 inches of ginger, sliced
1-2 t toasted sesame oil
1 large bunch of spinach, washed and with the large stems removed
2-4 haddock filets
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
*for my family, I add a pinch of crushed chili peppers to the olive oil with the 0nions and garlic.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat with the butter using in a large sauté pan that you can cover, later. Add garlic and slices of ginger, crushed red pepper if using. When the garlic starts to cook but isn’t golden or brown, just a few minutes, layer the spinach, (washed but still wet is fine) on top, and then layer the haddock filets on top of that. Drizzle with the toasted sesame oil, coarse sea salt and pepper and cover! The fish will be done in about 15-20 minutes; test for flakiness and remove from heat when it seems done, (no longer “clear” but flakes easily). Dish out or warn people that the slices of ginger are there for flavor!
I served it with brown rice.
Less than a week later, I had more good luck in the food department when a friend of mine gave me a bag of local scallops harvested by her son. These were also caught off a boat in Marshfield! Again, I decided to resurrect an old standby I used to make, because I had some oranges on hand. The greens were a nice addition to the plate, but you could make the scallops with rice and any side vegetable or salad.
Broiled Sea Scallops in Orange-Butter Tomato Sauce
For the Scallops:
About 10-15 large sea scallops
¼ C olive oil
One clove of garlic, pressed
Juice of one lemon
½ t cumin seeds
Crushed red pepper to taste
½ C chopped tomatoes
Juice and pulp of one large orange
Salt and pepper, to taste
Marinade the scallops in olive oil with crushed garlic, cumin seeds and some crushed red pepper, generously doused with fresh lemon juice (juice of one whole lemon). Place in a baggie in the refrigerator for just under an hour. (Warning, the scallops will become seviche and be cooked if it marinates too long!)
Prepare a sauce by melting about 2-3 T of butter and then adding the chopped tomatoes. (If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use a good quality canned version like Muir Glenn or Trader Joe’s.) When the tomatoes appear cooked, add the juice of an orange and dig out a bunch of the pulp too. Season with salt and pepper, cook for about 10 minutes on medium low heat and reserve to pour over the cooked, broiled scallops.
Prepare the greens (as described below.) When they are looking cooked, set the scallops in a flat pan (I used a pyrex pie dish) with some of the marinade under the broiler. Turn over after about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them because they are done as soon as they are just barely cooked through, about 12 minutes, if not too close to the broiler. Warning: over-cooked scallops taste like rubber!
For the Greens:
Olive oil (1-2 T)
One small or ½ large sweet onion, roughly chopped
Huge bunch of braising greens
Lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan with a cover. Once the onions are translucent, place the greens in the pan, add salt and pepper and lemon juice or a healthy splash of rice wine vinegar and cover. Depending on your greens combo, they will be cooked in about 15-20 minutes.
It is amazing to be able to enjoy the bounty of the sea and the earth right here in my home town of Marshfield!
By Katherine Rossmoore