Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Went to the Market...

...yesterday, the
Midtown Tuesday afternoon market, which runs from 3:00 to 7:00 right through the end of October now. The market had a damp start this day, and was a bit quiet, but it was clearing toward 5:00 when I left, so perhaps things picked up from there. I took home the makings of a simple grilled supper from a couple of vendors new to the market this year: fresh brats from Chuck Thompson of Painted Hill Farm, and lovely sweet onions from Ross and Emily of Laughing Stalk Farmstead .

I put those over moderate coals, the thick-sliced onions slicked with a bit of olive oil, salted & peppered, while atop the stove I made a "steam-sauté" (another great technique picked up from Jacques) of tiny market new potatoes, green garlic, garden kale and turnip greens.* The onions were a treat. The brats were very good, as well, and get a load of the ingredients: pork, water, salt, white pepper, marjoram, nutmeg, celery, cardamon, red pepper. Hey, where's my corn syrup?!? I want my nitrites!

Kidding. Welcome to the market, Chuck, Ross, and Emily. Find them at Midtown on Tuesday afternoon, but not Saturday.

Served with grilled bread, Mala's excellent homemade mustard, and rhubarb ketchup. Yes, rhubarb ketchup. It is a sausage's best friend.

I swiped, adapted it, from a recipe by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The original called for port and orange rind, I think. Using a local product, the orange-and-spice flavored ratafia from Nan Bailly's
Alexis Bailly Vineyard, was my inspiration. And I used our own cider vinegar, where the original called for red wine vinegar, so you takes your pick.

Rhubarb Ketchup
makes two pints

2 pounds rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup Alexis Bailly ratafia
1/4 cup good apple cider (or red wine) vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Pimente d’espelette or cayenne pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb with the ratafia, vinegar, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Cook until the rhubarb pieces wilt into the liquid. Cover, remove the pan from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes. Then simmer over low heat, stirring often, until the rhubarb falls apart, about 5 minutes. Depending upon the rhubarb's, what shall we call it?--viscosity, perhaps, you may need to add a little water. I've made this where the end result is quite fluid, while the most recent batch was pretty gloppy. But I didn't mind. I just let it be.

Add the espellette or cayenne pepper at the end, to taste. I use espelette, which is milder than cayenne, and about a half teaspoon just imparts a little zing.

You can purée it in a blender or FP for a smoother product, but I don’t.

* Into a saucepan with a cover place the new potatoes, a bit of butter, a bit of olive oil, good pinch of salt, a cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover, cook five minutes. Add one bulb green garlic sliced, and a couple handfuls of greens, coarsely chopped. If the water has all boiled away, add a little more. Cover and cook 7 or 8 minutes more, until the potatoes are tender. At the end remove the lid so the rest of the moisture can evaporate, and let the vegetables brown a bit. Add a little more butter if you like. Taste for salt, serve.

Text and photos copyright 2010 by Brett Laidlaw

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