by Anouk Booneman
Summer is in full swing in upstate New York. My CSA shares are filled with greens and herbs. The last of the winter vegetables have been used, and I really don’t want to see those until November. I am so looking forward to the beautiful bounty of summer. My fridge is filled with garlic scapes at the moment. Garlic scapes are those long green shoots that grow from the garlic bulb. They can be used as a substitute for garlic and scallions and are perfect for pesto and garlic scape confit.
I make a lot of ratatouilles in the summer. It’s the perfect dish to use up the overflow of summer vegetables and herbs. The dish holds well, and I can eat it daily. Ratatouille was wildly popularized in the USA by the movie Ratatouille. A French friend told me recently that it’s not ratatouille that is served in the movie but a dish called Tian. Tian is the word for both the pottery casserole in which this dish is cooked and the dish itself. Like ratatouille it’s a mix of tomatoes, onions, zucchini and eggplant, but the main difference might be the presentation. Ratatouille has a rustic appearance, while this dish is layered. My friend takes the layering very seriously and her tian looks very fancy. While she has the patience to slice every vegetable with a mandoline and arrange them, I don’t. Not every tian recipe is that time consuming, though, and I would be willing to try the recipe from Food52 by Dories Greenspan. Ideally, I would prefer a new dinner invitation from that same friend, because she is the tian master.
I have had a lot of bok choy in my farm share as well. Bok choy has a crisp, crunchy texture. It is slightly bitter and pairs well with sesame, soy sauce and ginger. I really like it raw in salad and paired with some seasonal strawberries as well.
Garlic Scape Pesto (Adapted from the Spruce Eats)
Gather the ingredients.
Add the garlic scapes, basil, and kosher salt to a food processor or blender
Pulse a couple of times to achieve a rough mixture
Slowly start adding 1/2 cup of the olive oil.
Stop processing and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
The texture of the final pesto is up to personal taste. If the sauce seems too thick for your preference, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil at a time and check again for your ideal consistency.
Once a smooth paste has been achieved, add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese (or the nutritional yeast) and process until completely mixed in. Taste for seasoning.
Add the remaining cheese if you'd like a thicker and more savory paste, or leave as is if you're happy with the flavor and consistency so far.
Add the pine nuts and process at low speed until the nuts are roughly chopped and fully mixed in. The coarse nuts give the pesto a great texture.
Pesto can be frozen to up to six months.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
In a 1-inch-deep baking dish, combine the garlic scapes and peeled garlic cloves with the thyme or other herbs of your choice. Add enough extra-virgin olive oil to cover. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until the garlic cloves have softened, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve with grilled bread. To store, discard the scapes and thyme and store the cloves with oil in an airtight container. Drizzle on salad, on a fried egg or on some toasted sourdough bread.
Tian (Dorie Greenspan for Food 52)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400° F. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into the baking dish, tilting it so the oil coats the sides. Scatter over half the garlic and a little more than half of the herbs and season generously with salt and pepper.
Slice the vegetables: they should be cut about 1⁄4 inch thick. Ideally, they should all be about the same size, so if any are particularly large, you might want to cut them in half the long way before slicing them. This is a nicety, not a necessity.
Arrange the vegetables in the dish in tightly overlapping circles. Try to squeeze the eggplant between slices of tomato and get the zucchini and onions to cuddle up to one another. Keep the circles tight, since the vegetables will soften and shrink in the oven. Season generously with salt and pepper, tuck the remaining slivers of garlic in among the vegetables, top with the remaining herbs and drizzle over as much of the remaining oil (3 to 7 tablespoons) as you’d like. Place the tian on a baking sheet lined with foil, parchment or a silicone baking mat. Bake the tian for 70 to 90 minutes, until the vegetables are meltingly tender and the juices are bubbling.
Serve the tian a few minutes out of the oven or allow it to cool to room temperature. This dish makes great leftovers.
Strawberry Bok Choy Salad
For the dressing
Slowly whisk in ¼ cup of oil. Taste for seasoning and add more oil, salt, and pepper, if you like.
For the salad
1. Cut the bok choy crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Coarsely chop the darker green strips. Rinse well and dry in a salad spinner
2. In a salad bowl, combine the bok choy, strawberries, scallions and cheese if using. Add the dressing and toss lightly. Sprinkle with almonds.
Anouk Booneman is a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America and the co-founder of Spring into health with Anouk and Danielle.