Uses from Broadwing Farm Share(s): Kale, Scallions, >(Lion Share) Fennel, small Zucchini Squashes
Shopping List: 2 qts Chicken or Vegetable Stock, Coarse Ground Polenta, Mascarpone Cheese, very good Parmesan, such as Reggiano, your favorite sausage links >(Fox Box) 2 med Fennel Bulbs, 2-3 small Zucchini Squashes
Special Equipment: blender or food processor, rubber spatula, whisk
IngredientsKale | Remove stems by pinching your fingers up the base of the kale to the top. Discard stems.Bulb Garlic | 5 cloves, bases trimmed½ bunch scallions | green & white ends cut into 1-inch lengthsExtra Virgin Olive Oil |2 cups Polenta | ¼ cupChicken (or veg) Stock | 7 cups1 cup Parmesan | shredded fineMascarpone | 3 tbspChicken (or veg) Stock | 7 cups2-3 Fennel Bulbs | Fronds/stems removed**, base removed, cut in half, core removed with a small sharp knife, fennel sliced lengthwise2-3 Small Zucchini Squashes | Ends removed, cut in half (if squash is long), halved lengthwiseYour favorite link sausageSalt & pepper to taste
DirectionsMake Kale Puree: Crush 4 cloves of the garlic; place one clove at a time under a large knife, laying the blade flat over the garlic, & pound lightly with the palm of your hand. Put crushed cloves in a medium pot filled with cold water & seasoned with salt to make the water lightly salty. When water boils, add kale, making sure it is submerged. Cook uncovered until kale is tender, about 2-3 minutes.
Fill a medium sized bowl with 3 trays of ice cubes, then cold water.
Remove kale pot from heat. Carefully drain in colander & immediately submerge kale into iced water. Separate garlic cloves, setting them aside. When ice has dissolved, put kale back in colander & strain. Take kale into hands & squeeze out as much water as possible, set flat on paper towels.
In a food processor, combine kale, cooked & remaining raw garlic clove, prepared scallion lengths, ½ cup of olive oil, & salt to taste. Blend until smooth, stopping periodically to scrape down sides with rubber spatula. Set puree aside.
Make Polenta: In a large, heavy bottom pot, over medium high heat, pour in chicken stock, salt & pepper to taste. Whisk in the polenta, stirring continuously until polenta is incorporated into water without lumps. When pot begins to simmer, turn heat down to low & begin to whisk regularly every couple minute’s, making sure polenta isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Polenta will begin to thicken as it cooks; cooking time will total about 45 minutes (polenta begins to become shiny). When polenta is cooked, remove from heat & whisk in parmesan. Taste & adjust seasonings as needed.
Cook your sausage with the preferred method & set aside.
In a sauté pan over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to coat the bottom. When oil shimmers, add fennel & salt/pepper to taste. When cooked, set fennel aside & return pan to heat with a bit more oil. When it shimmers again, remove from heat, & being careful of splatter, add squashes, halved side down. Return to heat, add salt/pepper. Leave squash until it begins to pull away from the bottom of the pan, then turn off heat & remove squash. Halved side should be golden brown.
Check temperature on polenta, it should still be hot. If it isn’t, quickly re-heat over low heat, whisking constantly (add remaining chicken stock if polenta appears too stiff). Remove from heat at 1st sign of bubbling. Swirl in kale puree & mascarpone cheese. Spoon polenta into shallow bowls. Top with a layer of cooked fennel, a couple pieces of squash, & a sausage. Garnish with a pretty drape of a fennel frond. Enjoy immediately!
** Fennel Fronds are pretty & edible as garnish, tossed in a green salad, or made into their own salad with citrus & beets. If you are a fan of fennel flavor, stems can be stuffed in the cavity of a roasting chicken, or left whole & added to a simmering pasta sauce, (remove before using finished sauce). Whole stems can also be added to the pan of a searing pork chop or throw a couple in your freezer bag of vegetable scraps.
Pro Tip: If you decide you want to grill your sausage, grill your squash at the same time! Just toss squash liberally in olive oil, salt & pepper before throwing on the grill. The charred textures will be nice against the soft fennel & the creamy polenta.