Laura Avery catches Evan Kleiman as she's about to tape her next video for Good Food. She'll make Cianfotta, a spring vegetable sauté that can be used over pasta, by itself as a side-dish or in a risotto.
Cianfotta (Roman Spring Sauté)
½ cup olive oil
1 white of leek, sliced and washed, tops reserved for soup
2 garlic cloves (or 4-6 fresh garlic cloves or 1 stalk green garlic) peeled and sliced
½ bunch pencil-thin asparagus, tough stems cut off and discarded, stalks cut into 1½ inch pieces
¼ lb sugar snap peas, stem end and string removed, each pod sliced open vertically so the peas inside are exposed
Spearmint leaves to taste (at least 15)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium to large skillet cook the leek slices in oil over medium high heat. When the leeks have started to soften add the garlic and cook until you smell the characteristic aroma. Turn the heat up to high and add the asparagus, sugar snaps and mint. Move everything around so there is maximum contact of veggies with heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook to your liking. I like this dish when the asparagus and sugar snaps no longer have that raw edge but are still al dente. Take the veggies off the heat and put them in a bowl or on a plate before they are actually completely done. They will continue to cook off the heat.
Eat hot, at room temperature, or cold as is or add to pasta or risotto. YUM!
Plus, Laura finds that green beans are now in season. Look for them at many different farmers stands. Also, low-acid Japanese tomatoes are in season this week.
Finally, most exciting is the start of cherry season. You'll find them beginning this week. Cherries are predicted to have a great year and should be around for 4 to 6 weeks.
The 2nd Annual Farmers Market Gala at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica will be held on May 18 at 6pm. Tickets are on sale at the Southland Farmers Market Association website. Twenty farmers are pairing with 20 chefs to make a 20-course tasting menu. Proceeds go to the Southland Farmers Market Association.
Join the Santa Monica Library Panel conversation on Thursday, May 15 at 7pm at the Main Library in the MLK Jr. Auditorium. Chef Mary Sue Milliken and farmer Phil McGrath will discuss food security issues and how to keep locally grown produce near the Los Angeles area. The event is free.