Friday, March 4, 2011

Fennel Pepper Primavera

Winter farmers markets can be quite interesting. You never know what you're going to find. Case in point, my local winter's market, held the second Saturday of each month, has everything from fish to fowl, pickles to pastry, chutney to cheese. But the most popular vendor is the sole produce vendor. Seriously, the crowds are three people deep around the little stand. Why? Because of the variety and the prices. Last month, I fought the crowds and spent $20 at the stand, taking home: *Mint, cilantro and dill *A butternut squash *A bunch of kale *One huge fennel bulb *Three small sweet potatoes *A handful of red onions *A carton of radishes *A bunch of scallions *Four mild white bush zucchini The butternut squash and kale went into a soup, the herbs, scallion and radish into salads and the fennel and squash into a roasted primavera. Using a technique similar to roasted ratatouille, I chopped up the onion, fennel and zucchini with minced garlic and multicolored bell peppers (from Costco), drizzled with a glug of olive oil, and roasted in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes. I finished the "sauce" by dumping the contents of a large can of plum tomatoes (which I "chopped" while in-can, using kitchen scissors) into the roasting pan, turning off the oven and letting the residual heat finish the cooking. The end result was a rich primavera with a significant tomato flavor. Oven roasting concentrates the flavors of even the most pedestrian vegetables (bought at a farmers market or not). Use as a pasta topping or serve over polenta or even couscous. Now...what to do with three small sweet potatoes?

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