Spring is my favorite time of year. Not only for the yellow and pink blossoms that erupt from leafless trees and as daffodils, but also for the GREENS from the garden. And now, thanks to hoop houses and growing tunnels, mustard greens, Tuscan kale, curly kale and the above Rainbow Chard hit the markets even earlier.
At Tumbling Shoals Farm, in NC's northwestern corner, Shiloh and partner Jason grow a smorgasbord of terrific veggies. Former Peace Corps workers, they came home and apprenticed with an organic grower in the Triangle area, took some classes in sustainable farming, then found their mountain farm to pour their hearts and souls into.
Last summer during the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture's farm tour, I saw tomatoes in hoop houses, rain gutters adapted as a growing place for starting seeds, and the elaborate schedule used to rotate crops.
Shiloh is a great cook, and I was so happy that she shared this recipe with me. It's become one of my favorite "meatless meals." I just love the slightly bitter flavor of the chard with the tang of the feta and the flavor of the spinach pasta. And it's quick and easy! Try the recipe that follows.......
And, watch my latest appearance on Roanoke's WSLS10's OUR BLUE RIDGE, where I make this dish with co-host Natalie:
Here's the RECIPE:
SPRING GREENS FARMERS MARKET SUPPER
from THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK, by Elizabeth Wiegand, Globe Pequot Press, 2010
At the Watauga Farmers Market, Shiloh Avery and Jason Roehrig of Tumbling Shoals Farm, sell chemical-free strawberries, lacinato kale, rainbow chard, escarole, endive, arugula, and lots of other spring greens. They recommend procuring the rest of the ingredients at the market, also.
1 package spinach linguine or other fresh pasta
one bunch (4 to 6 cups) chopped rainbow chard or other spring green
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus a splash
2 bunches chopped green onions
salt to taste
5 ounces feta cheese
freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water with a splash of olive oil. If pasta is fresh, be careful not to overcook.)
2. Meanwhile, separate the stems from the chard leaves. Coarsely chop the stems, then roll the leaves together and coarsely chop.
3. Heat the 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Saute the onion and chard stems (not greens) in the oil for about six minutes.
4. Add the chard greens and salt. Cook until wilted.
5. Add the feta cheese and pasta and continue cooking for another minute, until feta begins to melt. Add ground black pepper and serve.
SERVES 3 to 4