Instead of the Farmers’ Market Feast I’ve run for the past few summers, I’ll be doing things a little differently around here this year, partnering with my friend Kasha Bialas of The FarmGirl Cooks. In fact, I’ll just let her introduce you to our new endeavor:

Once upon a time there was a food photographer in New Jersey who loved to shop at farmers’ markets. This photographer was an avid cook and blogger who took advantage of the local bounty, cooking for herself, her husband and her two loving pups.  It just so happened that the farmer from whom she purchased vegetables, a single mom born and raised on a veggie farm in New York, was also an avid cook and blogger. What started out as a very businesslike transaction over radishes and onions has blossomed into a friendship based upon food, its preparations and the photographing of the results.

Join Amy of Minimally Invasive and Kasha of The FarmGirl Cooks, as they take you on a culinary journey documenting their challenge to create unique dishes using the same in-season ingredients. Because there’s nothing more beautiful than an artfully arranged plate of simply-prepared ingredients at the peak of freshness, the primary ingredients in each pair of dishes will be chosen based upon what looks best growing in the fields and purchased at local farmers markets. Amy’s and Kasha’s goal is to show readers that incorporating seasonal foods into daily cooking is quite effortless and can have stunning results. Please follow along as our chefs bring you the season’s best foods prepared in creative and delicious ways!

Combining the first and second weeks of the summer market into one mega-post, we’re kicking things off with green garlic…

Green Garlic @ Minimally Invasive

and radishes.

Radishes @ Minimally Invasive

In my excitement over finally (FINALLY!) having fresh garlic, I used it in all of the old standards — sautéeing it for asparagus pizza, or serving it with bacon and asparagus topped with a farm-fresh duck egg for breakfast.

Asparagus, Garlic and Eggs @ Minimally Invasive

But after a week of gorging on asparagus, I was ready to try something new. A few years ago, I made garlic confit for a triple-garlic pizza and thought it might be an interesting way to use this green garlic. So I chopped up everything but the roots of the garlic, threw in some black peppercorns, added olive oil to cover, and let the dish bathe in a 300-degree oven for two hours. (I made A LOT, so it took a while to cook down to a soft, slumpy mess.) The house smelled nothing short of amazing as the garlic was cooking, by the way. Check out the link above to make garlic confit of your own.

Green Garlic Chopped @ Minimally Invasive

The confit wasn’t falling apart or jammy the way whole garlic cloves get with the same treatment, but it was divine in its own right; in fact, I’m embarrassed to tell you how much of it I ate straight from a spoon, sprinkled with a little salt, my brain working on how to incorporate it in recipes.

The first dish that presented itself was, again, asparagus, which I blanched in very salty boiling water, then marinated at room temperature with a copious amount of garlic confit and its oil. Just before serving, I sprinkled the dish with finishing salt and added a big grind of fresh black pepper. Anything more would’ve been gilding the lily.

And after two days in the refrigerator, it’s even better than when I first made it:

Asparagus with Green Garlic Confit @ Minimally Invasive

Then I used some confit to mellow out the radish green pesto I’d prepared as a topping for marinated, grilled purple potatoes. On its own, the radish pesto was quite bitter, as you’d expect from such spicy greens and the handful of walnuts I used, but with about 1/3 cup of garlic confit whirred into the mixture, it became something entirely different — mellow, silky, and completely satisfying.

Confit and Pesto @ Minimally Invasive

After the pesto was made, I was left with a bunch of juicy radishes. While my favorite way to eat them is raw with a little anchovy butter, this is a cooking blog, so I got to work on a recipe. I began by halving and tossing them with a little olive oil:

Sliced Radishes @ Minimally Invasive

Then roasting and tossing them with a brown-butter miso glaze, all the while liberally sampling and adjusting here and there until it tasted juuuuust right.

Miso Glazed Radishes @ Minimally Invasive

It’s so simple to make delicious meals this time of year with farm-fresh ingredients. Attempting any overly involved recipe is almost a shame at the start of the season, when our winter-deprived taste buds are crying out for something new; it’s all so delicious when treated with respect and a light touch. I can’t guarantee I’ll stick to that philosophy with every dish, but it’s a great place to start.

Be sure to check out Kasha’s post on green garlic and asparagus and drool over her gorgeous risotto!

Brown Butter and Miso-Glazed Radishes

1 bunch radishes, cleaned and trimmed with 1/2-inch of greens still attached
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons white miso

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Halve radishes vertically, then toss them with the olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Pour onto a greased baking sheet and turn radishes cut side down. Roast for 20 minutes, or until a knife slips easily into a radish.

While the radishes are roasting, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until the milk solids turn golden brown and develop a nutty smell. Remove from heat and add maple syrup and lemon juice, stirring to combine. Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the miso until the mixture becomes a smooth paste.

Toss the radishes with the miso mixture in a big bowl and serve immediately. They’re also great at room temperature, if you want to serve them in a buffet setting.

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