Sunday, May 4, 2014

Eating Omily: "Hey, You There! Stop Kicking that Mackerel!"***

Go wild! Spring is here! Don't believe me? The proof is at the market: fiddlehead ferns, ramps, and stinging nettles are all popping up, not to mention spinach and other early greens! Asparagus will be here in no time, along with rhubarb, and following along a month or so behind...STRAWBERRIES!!!! Get excited, folks. The growing season is upon us!

This year, I actually discovered I treat I've never seen before: allium snippets! You see, when onion, leeks, and garlic are started from seeds indoors, it helps the big bulbs we love so much to develop if the green tops are snipped off when they're transplanted outdoors. Those snippets offer a fresh, oniony-garlicky, just a little fiery flavor! They make a delicious addition to salads, the perfect herbaceous omelet filling, and if you don't mind onion breath, are pretty good munched straight out of the bag, too! We're getting a little obsessed with them over here: in a fiddlehead fern saute*? Yes, please! As an extra grassy-oniony note in our broccoli rabe? Absolutely! A quick nibble before chopping up a handful to sprinkle over rice and beans? Oh, yeah!

P.S. The honey in that picture? It. Is. Amazing. And it is fabulous to wash your face with: glowing, clean complexion! You can get your own stuffed-full bag of these special Spring treats on Wednesdays at Union Square. This vendor also offers tons of rad lacto fermented goodies: sauerkraut, kimchee, gingered carrots, and lots more! It's Fermented Foodie Heaven!!    

Last Wednesday when I picked up my allium snippets, it was pouring rain. It's a bit of a hassle, negotiating my umbrella, my insulated shopping bag, my tote bag, my wallet, and the plastic bag to put the food in all at once...but it's totally worth it, because so many of the vendors run rainy day specials in an effort to clear out their stock before the end of the day. You can walk away with bags of super freshly picked produce for an absolute steal if you're one of the few willing to brave the bad weather. Get our your rain boots, and give it a go next time!

Have you heard the bad news about tuna? Aside from the mercury issues, these big, gorgeous predators have been fished to the brink of extinction because of their huge popularity as a sushi fish. If we want these monsters of the deep** to be around for our children to enjoy, let alone our grandchildren, we've got to lay off pronto! So, with so much salmon being farmed unsustainably and un-nutritiously, and mislabeled as wild-caught, what omega-3 rich fish can you enjoy?? Have you tried mackerel? I know: they sure don't have the same fancy connotations, but A.) They are absolutely gorgeous little fish, and B.) since the fillets are so small, they are insanely quick and easy to broil to tender, crispy-skinned perfection. Need a nutritious dinner on that crazy-rushed night? Look no further. Bring them home, coat them in ghee, add salt and your favorite herbs or spices (I'm obsessed with Old Bay seasoning blend, and these are also so amazing if you broil them with a rosemary sprig underneath each fillet. The presentation takes this little oily fish from "Ew!" to "Oooh!!!" You only have to broil them on one side, skin-side up, till the skin is crispy and browned, and they'll be cooked through beautifully...and I can't imagine they'd do too badly paired with some allium snippets for extra flavor!

 Different fish are available each day at the Farmer's Market depending on which fish vendors are present, and what they caught, but mackerel is pretty common because it's an abundant fish. See, they don't take very long to grow up and reproduce, which means they can keep up with the rate they're being fished much more easily than tuna can, and they have a much shorter lifespan, which means less time to eat contaminated foods and accumulate mercury in their systems.

What Spring veggies are you excited about loading up on? Have I convinced you to give mackerel a try?

Yeah, Spring!!!

*Fiddleheads frequently carry mild food-borne illness, so before sautéing, or other light cooking methods, they need to be steamed for twelve minutes over simmering water, or you run the risk of feeling nauseous for the next twenty-four hours to three days, which really sucks, not that I know from experience or anything! Seriously, cook those suckers.

**I'm not exaggerating! Look up a picture of a full-grown tuna: they're big, fast, and fierce!

***This is a direct quote from Disney's Alice in Wonderland (the old, animated version), and if you can tell me exactly when in the movie this line is said, there just might be something in it for you! :-D 


  1. I love mackerel, but I've onl y had it in Japanese restaurants. Doesn't seem to be too popular or available here in the middle of the continent.

  2. It's true, I don't ever remember seeing them in the grocery store...if you're ever around a Whole Foods you could check there!