Local Bounty: February 11

Winter’s Best Produce from the Maciel’s



I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to look around my garden, dreaming of sunnier, warmer days. As in planting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. We’re getting close. But in the meantime, whether you have a garden or are shopping for produce, you can’t help but be grateful for the gorgeous greens and root vegetables that are bountiful right now.

One of my favorite local farmers is Maciel Family Farms in Bonsall. Go to the Little Italy Mercato or San Diego Public Market and you'll probably find Anthony Maciel, a great friendly giant of a man, and his carefully arranged harvest. Big bunches of colorful carrots compete visually with brilliant red and white radishes, huge creamy fennel, and a variety of greens. I ended up going home with the carrots, fennel, and a couple of heads of butter lettuce. I’ll be back for more soon!

Carrots, butter lettuce, fennel
Carrots, butter lettuce, and fennel | Photos by Caron Golden

Carrots

We tend to take carrots for granted, but if you have clay soil (as many of us in San Diego do), you can appreciate the talent it takes to grow a sweet, flawless carrot. These carrots, from a pale yellow to vibrant orange, are chunky and packed with flavor. Yeah, eat them raw, but how about slicing them, sautéing in butter and olive oil, then adding some honey and dill. Keep cooking until they’re soft and beginning to caramelize. Or, turn them in a sweet soup with a dollop of crème fraiche. $2 a bunch

Butter Lettuce

Butter lettuce may be my favorite; it’s got a rich texture and flavor unlike other leafy greens. I love that the Maciels grow both green and red varieties. I’ve been enjoying them with a variety of salad dressings made and marketed by Terra Restaurant (which will appear in my San Diego Magazine column soon). Just be sure to wash the leaves carefully to get the dirt out of their hidden crevices. $2 a basket

Fennel

Fennel can be a neglected root when it comes to the casual consumer. But the bulb’s crunchy texture and anise flavor are so winning when you know what to do with it. Shave or thinly slice the root, mix with shredded carrots, toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans are terrific here), radishes, and green onions for a salad. Fennel is marvelous braised alone or with other root vegetables. You can cook them with onions and make soup. Or, do what my mom does. Slice the bulb in half horizontally, top with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs, and roast until they’re soft and the top is browned and crunchy. $1.50 apiece

 

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Food and Drink

Restaurant reviews and food trends in San Diego

About This Blog

Restaurant reviews, food trends, top cocktails, wine, beer and generally the best eats and drinks in San Diego, with reporting (read: eating) lead by food editor Troy Johnson. Looking for the Erins? Erin Chambers Smith and Erin Meanley? Find their most recent musings over at the Around Town blog. And yes, we know that one needs a new name. We're working on it. 

Archives

Feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Food and Drink Feed »

Recent Posts

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

'Tis The Season

Winter in the desert cities

100 Works of Art to See Before You Die in San Diego

Local art critics, museum directors, and the big kahunas of the art world picked their must-see paintings, sculptures, and buildings with a special checklist just for you
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. 27 Reasons to Love San Diego
    Our annual list of all things San Diego and rad—from kiteboarding to urban farming to a city-wide book club
  2. San Diego New Year’s Eve Guide
    Ring in 2015 at these parties, concerts, dining, and family-friendly events
  3. 25 BIG Ideas
    Fascinating San Diego people inspire us with big, bold ideas on everything from genomics to urban planning, art to architecture, food and more
  4. Get Fit & Have Fun in San Diego
    From doggie bootcamps to intense bodybuilding programs, it’s an exciting time to get in shape. What are you waiting for?
  5. I Tried It: The New Jazzercise
    When I hear the word “Jazzercise,” neon leotards, leg warmers, headbands, and old ladies come to mind
  6. Food Self-Righteousness Is For Assholes
    Gawker calls foie gras eaters lots of bad names. A response.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module