Even though it's been around for a few years now, I am still incredibly excited to have joined a CSA this year. A few years ago, "CSA" was the big new food acronym, standing for Community Supported Agriculture, the rather wonderful setup where cooks and eaters pay in advance for the season and in return get a box delivered to their neighborhood every week or two, effectively a farmer's market haul. The farmer gets all the money up front, which helps defray costs, and the CSA member gets the freshest, most local, most in-season produce possible. Every week is a surprise.
Elin and I decided to sign up for a CSA this year from Angelic Organics, outside Chicago. The first box came today: broccoli, bok choy, herbs, chard, garlic scapes, scallions, spinach...and more lettuce than I know what to do with.
I decided to employ a trick I've used a couple times in the past when faced with a huge amount of leafy produce and no plans for how, exactly, I'll be using it. I'm not always the most conscientious cook when it comes to using up what's in the fridge. I'm easily distracted, and more often than not, a bit lazy. Many a leafy vegetable has turned to sludge under my watch, as the whole washing, drying, tearing thing seems like too much effort.
I found this trick in Jamie Oliver's Cook with Jamie, and I love the concept: washing and drying all the lettuce at once, then putting it nicely in the bottom fridge drawer lined with towels. For the lazy among us, this means that now there is nothing separating you from a salad, especially if you have the basic vinaigrette on hand in the fridge, which has seriously increased the amount of salad in my life. As Oliver puts it, washing them all at once means you've have "a good clean mixture of salad leaves on tap." On tap. Salad leaves. I love that.
All you do is fill a sink with cold water, then submerge the leaves, spin them in a salad dryer (or in a dish towel), then stick them in the drawer. Once they're nestled in, salad means reaching in for a handful, spooning some vinaigrette and maybe a shaving of Parmesan, and putting on the plate.
I figured this was a little trick more people should know about.