This year my family finally signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. Every Friday, our farmer wakes before dawn and drives to the Twin Cities and other communities to deliver the week’s bounty of organic produce. We pick up a half-share; above is just a portion of one Friday’s haul (though this year’s drought has definitely decreased the crop).
Every week, we get whatever’s in the box. I’d never eaten Kohlrabi before (the bulbous thing on the right, with greens growing out of it). When you get lots of something you’ve never eaten, there’s only one thing to do, at least at my house… make it into bread or pizza… Turns out that both the bulb, and the greens of Kohlrabi are nutritious and delicious. Farmer Mike has been giving lots of Kohlrabi, so we’ve gotten very adept at peeling the bulb, slicing it into spears, and eating it raw with a yogurt dip (really nothing more than a cup of yogurt, half-cup of shredded cucumber, one clove of raw or roasted garlic, and a couple of tablespoons of fresh mint leaves from the garden, all put through the food processor till smooth).
Then, about those Kohlrabi greens. You ever notice that nobody gives you bushels of basil? The cheap and nutritious greens in the grocery (or from a CSA), like chard (Swiss or plain), collards (left side of the picture), kale, or mustard present a challenge– kids don’t tend to love them, and their bitter edge isn’t for everyone (especially kale and mustard). Kohlrabi falls into this category, though less bitter. Any of them, it turns out, makes a fantastic pesto, with greens standing in for basil. Olive oil and ground nuts (in this case walnuts rather than pine nuts) mellow out the bitterness of the greens. I used the equivalent of a full bunch of collard greens (in kohrabi), chopped them, sauteed them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until tender, then put that into the food processor.
Add about 1/2 cup of walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts (you really can experiment here), and salt to taste. I used walnuts today. Set aside.
Meanwhile roll out your favorite lean dough into a 1/8-inch thick round, about 12 to 16 inches across (this takes about a 1-pound piece of dough, the size of a grapefruit). Do this right on a well-floured pizza peel. Bake the dough “blind,” (without toppings) about 2 to four minutes on the first side right over direct heat on the grates of your gas grill set to medium.
As soon as you flip the dough round, top with the greens mixture, and the cheese of your choice. Here I used dabs of goat cheese, and finished baking right on the grill (grilled chicken chunks are optional). Keep the grill lid closed– you may need to adjust burner heat to prevent the bottom from burning before the toppings look ready.
A little white wine and it’s a complete dinner:
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