When you think of Lancaster County as the Garden Spot of Pennsylvania, the first color that may pop into your mind is green.
At this time of year, local farm markets and stands are covered with verdant bunches of salad greens, green vegetables, green herbs and much more. Not only do these vivid green ingredients add fresh flavor to a variety of dishes, but the produce is filled with nutrients all of us need to stay healthy. We continue LNP’s six-week “Color Palate” series — exploring foods in various hues — with the color green this week.
(You can revisit last Wednesday’s Lancaster Online story on blue foods here).
It’s the perfect time of year to take advantage of our abundance of local produce in your cooking — adding colorful green vegetables and herbs to your dishes.
We’ve gathered some recipes for dishes that highlight the color green.
Joshua Manny, executive chef at The Local Table restaurant at Willow Valley Communities, prepared two dishes that highlight the green color so abundant in Lancaster County produce at this time of year.
In the first, diners can see green herbs layered right in the middle of their strips of pasta.
“The herbed inlay pasta is your basic nine-yolk pasta dough,” Manny says. “It’s a combination of semolina and Tipo 00 flour, which is a very fine flour. ... All the herbs I use are local — chives, parsley, basil and oregano — and I just evenly layer them out, and take another piece of pasta dough, place it on top and roll it through.
“For the rest of that dish,” Manny says, “we have nice green snap peas, green garlic and the tops of spring onion,” as well as zephyr squash, with their blossoms on.
“I finish the dish with ramp
butter,” the chef says. “Ramps are no longer in season, but I try my best to preserve (them) as best as possible. ... I finish with some Parmesan cheese.”
HERBED INLAY PASTA WITH GREEN SUMMER VEGETABLES
• 3 ounces herbed inlay pasta (see recipe below)
• 2 ounces sugar snap peas, blanched
• 1 garlic scape, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 ounces heirloom green beans
• 3 zephyr squash, with blossoms
• 1 spring green onion
• 1 tablespoon ramp butter (see recipe below)
• 1/2 cup whey
• 3 ounces Sauvignon Blanc
• A squeeze of lemon
• 2 ounces olive oil
• 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Begin by bringing 1 gallon of water to a boil and lightly salt (about 2 tablespoons).
Heat a medium-sized saute pan to medium heat.
Add oil, then garlic scapes and zephyr squash. Saute for one minute, then add wine.
Reduce by half and add whey. Add blanched heirloom beans, sugar snap peas and spring onion.
At this stage, add inlay pasta to boiling salted water and cook for about 1 minute or until al dente.
Drain pasta and add to the saute pan along with an ounce of the pasta water.
At this stage, you want to work your pasta into the rest of your ingredients. Agitate the pasta in the pan to draw out the gluten and create a silkiness to your dish.
After about a minute of agitation the ingredients, sauce and pasta should be well married.
Finish the pasta with the ramp butter, Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon. This last step can be done off of the heat.
(Note: Always add cheese at the end, while the dish is still hot but not on the flame. This allows the cheese to be a final silky, salty layer and, in this case, nutty due to the freshly grated high-quality Parmesan. Adding cheese at this point also ensures it will not curdle and create an unpleasant texture to your dish).
Turn your pasta out onto a plate. Be sure to showcase all of your hard work and allow everyone to see your inlay pasta!
Finish with more freshly grated Parmesan.
YOLK PASTA DOUGH HERB INLAY
• 9 egg yolks
• 175 grams Tipo 00 flour
• 65 grams semolina flour
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cold water
• 2 sprigs each of fresh oregano, basil and parsley
• 4 chives, cut into 1-inch batons
Combine your flours in a bowl. Turn out onto your work space and create a well in the center.
Combine your yolks, water and olive oil inside the well, being careful not to allow the liquid to exit the center.
You may use a fork or your forefingers and middle fingers together to gently begin to “whisk” the yolks and liquid together.
Slowly begin to pull the sides of your well walls into the yolks. This process of slowly combing the flour and yolks helps to aid in the proper building of gluten in your dough, which will give you the tooth or “al dente” desired in the texture of this dough.
Once all of the flour is combined with the yolks, begin to knead the dough to continue building gluten.
(Note: Manny typically kneads this dough for about 10 minutes and says you’ll know it’s complete when, if you press your thumb with medium to light pressure into the dough, it resists that pressure and springs three-quarters of the way back to its original state).
Mold the dough into a smooth disk and wrap gently with plastic. Chill for 1 hour before use.
Once chilled, roll out on a pasta roller to No. 8 thickness using the classic method of twice through each setting. Using a 3-ounce portion of dough at a time; you should get about a 2-foot piece.
After rolling out, randomly place herbs here and there on half of the dough, being sure to leave some space at the edges of your dough.
Gently brush the perimeter of your dough with a very small amount of water to ensure your dough stays together. Fold your dough in half, encasing the herbs in your dough.
Gently press down to create a seal. Set your pasta roller to the No. 6 setting. Feed your pasta through the setting twice, then No. 7 twice.
Here’s Manny’s recipe for the butter made with ramps — a small-bulb vegetable with green tops that’s known as a wild leek or spring onion.
• 12 medium-sized ramp tops
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 2 ounces butter, preferably local and unsalted, at room temperature
Blanch ramp tops for about 10 seconds in boiling water (that’s salty like the sea).
Do not not shock the ramps afterward in ice water; this ensures an easier blending of the ramp tops.
Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, about 15 seconds. If needed, add a touch of hot water to get the blender to catch and puree the leaves smooth. Using too much water will dilute the ramp flavor. Be vigilant in how long you allow the ramps to spin in the blender. Like all green ingredients, we want to preserve and highlight their color. Too much time in the blender will cause ramps to lose that color because of excess friction.
Fold the ramp puree and lemon zest into room-temperature butter, and season with salt to taste.
Refrigerate up to a week or freeze in an airtight container for up to one month.
Manny also prepared a bowl of vivid green pea soup, served poured around a garnish of wine-poached mussels, whole peas and summer savory.
He says he gets fresh English peas for the dish from a nearby Community Supported Agriculture group.
“They’re fantastic, sweet peas, and I don’t have to do too much to them to make them really nice,” Manny says. “We quickly blanch them, and then we combine it with a whey product that’s left over from the cheese we make here at the restaurant.
“I take nice, local whole milk ... from Maplehofe Dairy,” Manny says. “I break it with lemon juice and salt, and then what happens is the old ‘curds and whey.’
“We take those curds and whip them for different uses in the restaurant,” Manny says. “We make nice ricotta here. But what’s left is a really nice, rich — but somehow still light — briny whey product.
“This dish is the blanched peas, the whey, we do some fresh mint, basil, a touch of creme fraiche, some salt to taste and a little bit of lemon zest, as well,” Manny says. “It’s simple, it’s bright, it’s fresh.”
For garnish, Manny puts some whole peas in the bottom of a bowl, and layers spring onion between white wine-poached mussels and fresh basil on top.
“We present the bottom of the bowl to the guests, and then we come around with the chilled soup” and pour it over the peas and mussels, Manny says.
CHILLED PEA SOUP
• 4 cups peas, blanched
• 3 cups whey
• 1/2 bunch mint (leaves picked from stems)
• 1/4 bunch basil (leaves picked from stems)
• 1 ounce creme fraiche
• Zest of 1 lemon
• Salt to taste
Bring 3 gallons of water to a boil in a large pot.
Once boiling, add salt until your water tastes like the ocean. This process, and using plenty of water, sets the chlorophyll in the peas and helps to preserve the beautiful green color that is desired in a pea soup.
Once the water is boiling and salted, add your peas all at once and leave in water for one minute.
(Note: Manny does not shock the peas afterward in ice water, saying they blend better when still warm from the blanching process).
Once the peas are finished, remove from water. Bring water back to a boil and add mint and basil for about 10 seconds. Remove from water — herbs are fragile and require much less cooking time.
Gently warm your whey in a separate pot but do not make it hot.
Add the blanched peas, herbs, creme fraiche, lemon zest and whey to the blender. Blend until smooth; preferably less than 1 minute to keep the soup nice and green.
• Garnish: At The Local Table restaurant, whole peas are used for texture, along with white wine-poached mussels, summer savory and leek ash (blackened leek).
These two recipes come from PA Preferred, a state agricultural marketing program through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
BROCCOLI AND GREEN BEANS WITH GINGER GREEN SAUCE
Makes 4 servings.
• 2 cups green beans, sliced into bite-sized pieces (fresh or frozen)
• 2 cups broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces (fresh or frozen)
Ingredients for Green Ginger Sauce:
• 2 cups tightly packed, fresh spinach leaves
• 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
• 1/4 teaspoon. low-sodium soy sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
• 2 teaspoons. rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (optional)
Puree green sauce ingredients in the blender until the sauce is bright and very smooth.
Meanwhile, use the stove or microwave to steam green beans and broccoli just until each is bright green and tender.
To serve, drizzle some green sauce on each plate, and top with 1/4 cup of hot green beans and 1/4 cup of hot broccoli.
• Nutritional information per serving: Calories: 54, total fat: 2g, saturated fat: 0g, carbohydrate: 8g, protein: 3g, cholesterol: 0, sodium: 133mg, fiber: 2g.
This recipe was developed for PA Preferred by chef Ben Beaver of Cafe 1500 in Harrisburg.
GRILLED SPRING VEGETABLES WITH TWO MARINADES
• 1 cup each seasonal Pennsylvania spring vegetables such as asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, green peppers (or other colors)
Ingredients for Pesto Marinade:
• 2 cups packed basil (or any leafy green like spinach or chard)
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• 1/4 cup pine nuts (or pistachios to add more green)
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
• 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for balsamic vinaigrette:
• 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
• 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon honey
• Salt and pepper to taste
In two separate bowls combine the ingredients for the marinades. Process the pesto ingredients in a food processor. Simply whisk the balsamic vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl. Chop vegetables into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking and aesthetic appeal.
Marinate the vegetables in two separate containers; one for the pesto marinade and one for the balsamic vinaigrette.
Marinate for up to 3 hours but no longer. Vegetables will get soft if marinated too long, unlike proteins such as meat that can marinate for many hours.
Heat the grill to high, and let it get nice and hot.
Sear the veggies on the grill while it is on high, then turn the heat back to medium setting to allow them to cook to your desired softness.
Each vegetable will vary depending on density and size, so keep an eye on them and test them often to ensure that they're cooked to your liking.
This recipe using spinach and edamame — cooked soybeans — comes from the. U.S. Department of Agriculture.
STRAWBERRIES, WHITE BEAN AND EDAMAME SALAD
Makes 4 servings.
For the vinaigrette:
- 11/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
For the salad:
- 1 1/2 cups cleaned, sliced strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, cooked
- 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 6 cups baby spinach
Cook edamame according to package directions while preparing remaining ingredients.
Once cooked, rinse edamame under cool water and drain.
In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients. In a medium bowl, toss together strawberries, white beans and edamame.
Serve on individual plates by nesting strawberries, white beans and edamame mix atop spinach. Drizzle with dressing.
• Nutrition information per serving: calories 270, total fat 10 g, saturated fat 2 g, sodium 350 mg, total carbohydrate 30 g, dietary fiber 10 g, protein 14 g.
And what exploration of green-food recipes would be complete without a dish containing Pennsylvania's ubiquitous zucchini?
This one comes from the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program.
ZESTY ZUCCHINI QUESADILLAS
Makes 12 servings.
• 2 cups zucchini, grated
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
• 1 cup carrots, grated
• 1/4 cup onions , chopped
• 2 tablespoons mild chili peppers, mild, canned, diced and drained
• 2 tablespoons pimentos, diced and drained
• 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
• 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
• 2/3 cup real bacon bits
Preheat over to 450 F.
Mix zucchini and salt together and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain well.
Spray baking tray with vegetable cooking spray. Lay two tortillas on sheet.
Spread each tortilla with zucchini, carrots, onions, chili peppers, pimentos, Italian seasoning, cheese and bacon bits.
Top each with another tortilla and spray with vegetable cooking spray. Bake at 450 F for about 7 to 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Cut each into 6 pieces.
Put on a tray and garnish with parsley, zucchini stars and cherry tomatoes.
Serve with salsa and sour cream.
You can also use an electric quesadilla maker: Preheat for 5 minutes, place tortilla sandwich in the machine and cook 4 minutes or until lightly brown.