With winter rutabegas slowly shriveling in my vegetable drawer, I’ve been so happy to see a few new produce items in my CSA (community supported agriculture) box in the past few weeks.
I’m still getting kale, carrots, lettuce greens and beets (so. many. beets.), but the addition of spring onions and basil were enough to lift my spirits last weekend.
But it was the lamb’s quarters at the Johnson’s Backyard Garden farmers’ market stand that really caught my eye this week. CSA customers can swap one, maybe two — depending on how big of a box you order — produce items out of their box for something on the market stand, and this week, I picked an ingredient I’d never tasted, much less cooked.
Lamb’s quarters, also known as pigweed, stands out with its fuzzy, sometimes purple leaves, and the JBG worker said she loved it in salads or sauteed like spinach.
I pulled it out of the fridge a few days later and, after staring at it for a minute, decided to tweet a photo to see if anyone out there in follower land knew what to do with it. On Instagram, @chase_cole suggested using it as a taco garnish or tossed in salsa or pasta and @yesmoreplease said I should saute it quickly with shallots, olive oil and lemon and serve with feta or nuts over a grain, with fish or in a pita.
Embolded by their ideas, I threw a batch of rice in the rice cooker, thawed some sundried tomato chicken sausages from the freezer and sauteed the links with thinly sliced onions from that beautiful spring onion, above.
After the sausages were cooked and the onions soft, I added chopped lamb’s quarters, put a lid on the pan, closed my eyes, and said a little prayer that it wouldn’t be terrible.
Three minutes later, I served the sausage, onion and lamb’s quarter mixture on top of a bed of rice. It wasn’t as flavorful as other greens I’ve used this winter, but it wasn’t bad either, so I guess my prayer worked.
The fuzzy texture of the greens comes through a little in the final product, but that means the lamb’s quarters have a little more body than, say, spinach or chard.
I still have half a bunch of lamb’s quarters left and saw even more for sale at Boggy Creek’s farmstand yesterday.
I’m not sure how much longer it’ll be in season, but I’ll be looking for ways to use up the last of it over the weekend. Any other ideas?