2014-06-19 / From The Garden

FROM THE GARDEN

What’s Up?
By Cynthia Gibson


Frisee is a cross between leaf lettuce and chicory. Frisee is a cross between leaf lettuce and chicory. After all the back-breaking planting and weeding, it is time to start reaping your first harvest; lettuce and radishes are up and ready for the picking. Yes, real lettuce from the earth and not a bag, these first salad days are truly great! As soon as you pick your second growth of leaves lettuce, take the entire plant out of the ground and reseed or replant. You can easily have three or more crops of lettuce per our growing season. We are lucky enough in our zone 6b-7a to have an extra month to grow.

For a bit of a change in lettuce, try Frisee or different types of chicory. Chicory has a crisp and very crunchy leaf and a hint of bitterness as do endive and radicchio, close relatives. Frisee is a cross between leaf lettuce and chicory so it is less bitter and milder in taste. Add it sparingly to salads as its taste can be overwhelming to the untested palate.


Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. A favorite variety of frisee is Green Curled Ruffec and a variety from Sicily, Cour d'Oro, translated “gold heart.” The latter frisee is particularly decorative as its center is bright yellow-gold slowly turning to chartreuse, then to verdant green towards the ends of the stems. Frisee plays a large part in the preparation of salads in Sicilian cuisine. Cour d’Oro is delectably different and is a lovely addition to a garden salad. Its leaves look like thorny spikes, which add an attractive texture to the salad. In addition, that hint of sharp bitterness adds a spicy snap to the salad.

Sicilian Insalata di Frisee

1 head curly Frisee
4 large hard-boiled eggs
(a tiny bit under boiled)
and sliced in half
5 - 6 anchovies in oil
(optional)
1/2 cup of chopped Italian parsley
2 scallions, finely
chopped
15 mint leaves, finely chopped
3 - 4 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup roasted croutons in extra
virgin olive oil

Salad Dressing
Juice of 2 lemons
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to
taste
Using a whisk in a wooden salad
bowl, mix ingredients until well
blended. Then add all of the ingredients of the salad.

Toss all of these ingredients, plate them, and you will believe you are having a luncheon on the city square of Messina. This salad goes well with fresh sea bass or fish of your choice cooked on the grill with rosemary and thyme. Either a baguette or a small loaf of Italian semolina is a nice accompaniment to the salad.

Add a piece of Taleggio cheese and you have a lovely meal for a hearty lunch or dinner party.

Gardens Tips

This is the last week for planting
dahlias.
. Place straw underneath the
leaves of strawberry plants to deter slugs.
. Pull out the tiny weeds that
seem to grow into monsters
overnight in vegetable and flower beds.
. Mulch berry plants with small
pine bark.
. It is not too late to plant first
crop of corn.
. Water potted plants twice a
day, morning and late afternoon.
. Look for plant sales! It is not
too late to plant annuals or perennials.

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