I woke up with a terrible headache. Just before going to bed, I ate half a large bag of candy corn. It’s my guilty once-a-year pleasure. And in that spirit, I begin to blog on Halloween day 2010. This very “farm-to-table time” of year is one of the most transitional times in cooking. Slowly disappearing are the brightest hues of the color spectrum — vivid tomato reds, sharp basil greens, and sunny corn yellows — are gradually replaced by the gold, russet, ochre shades of roots and the paler tones of brussels sprouts, and other harbingers of winter. The “winter whites” I call them — cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, even horseradish. I love them all.
But let’s not rush so quickly. Yesterday at the farmer’s market up the street from my house, located in Park Slope’s Grand Army Plaza, was the most riotous offering of summer’s last gasp — the bounty of the summer of 2010 — all clamoring for attention. My best friend, food maven Arthur Schwartz, who lives just a few blocks away was seduced to a farethewell. “I bought way too much food,” he reported after his morning visit. And then…so did I. I couldn’t resist just one last tomato salad — this time it was what I affectionately call a “Stoplight Tomato Salad” made with red, green and yellow tomatoes, topped with a shower of shaved ricotta salata and a simple dressing of olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and a splash of sherry vinegar. I found some corn and made a corn soup — the last I’m sure I’ll savor this year — and topped it with slivers of Granny smith apple. I bought the biggest head of broccoli I’ve seen in a long time and will steam its florets and toss them bits of sauteed red onions, blue cheese and mint (recipe below).
Then at night, when the ghosts and goblins have gone, and the shaving cream and broken egg shells have been swept away, I will finish the bag of candy corn with my daughter.
Steamed Broccoli with Blue Cheese, Red Onions & Mint
This is such a pleasure to make and then eat with a steak or…instead of a steak!
2 large or 1 very large head broccoli
2 large red onions
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 ounces good blue cheese, crumbled
2/3 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
Bring a pot of water fitted with a steamer basket to a rapid boil. Cut the broccoli into florets with 2 inches of stem. Add the broccoli to the steamer basket, cover and steam 10 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Cut the onions in half through the root ends and thinly slice lengthwise. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook over high heat until soft, dark brown, and crispy, 10 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a large bowl. Add the onions, cheese, and mint. Toss, adding salt, pepper and additional olive oil. Serve slightly warm. Serves 4