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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Posted 1/18/2018 12:12pm by Amber Stenson.

Those are the four main ingredients for all cooking according to Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the elements of good cooking.

For those experiencing that winter slump of recipe inspiration, I highly recommend checking this book out. Samin does a great job of teaching you how to cook with just about anything in your kitchen, and make it taste great! Heres an excerpt from the book. The Single Most Important Ingredient.

One week left to take advantage of our Early Bird Discount for your 2018 CSA. Sign-up by January 31st to receive $35 off a Full Acre Share and $20 off a Half Acre share. Use the following codes at checkout.

Full Share: Early Bird Full

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How about a recipe to keep you warm and full this winter!

Kuku Sabzi

Nosrat grew up eating traditional Persian dishes, like the Iranian frittata known as kuku sabzi; her mother’s version was greener than anyone else’s. “She was a health food freak and grew up on a farm and believed in packing as many greens and herbs in there as possible. I’ve never seen a kuku as full of green things as hers.” The chef’s version is at least as verdant. “It’s so insanely green, and healthy, and spring, and fresh-tasting and different. And it reminds me of my mom,” she says, enthusiastically. You can make it with whatever fresh herbs and leafy stems you can get your hands on — Nosrat has friends who make it with lettuce.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 bunches green chard, washed, or 2 pounds wild nettles or spinach, picked and washed
6 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, sliced thinly and washed, including green top
2 cups roughly chopped dill leaves and tender stems
4 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
9 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees if you do not want to flip your kuku partway through cooking.

2. If using chard, strip the leaves: Gripping at the base of each stem with one hand, pinch the stem with the other hand and pull upward to strip the leaf. Repeat with remaining chard.

3. Gently heat a large cast iron or nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in the chard leaves, or other greens, and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool.

4. If using chard, thinly slice the stems, discarding any tough bits at the base.

5. Return the pan to the stove and heat over a medium flame. Add 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil. When the butter begins to foam, add the sliced leeks and chard stems, along with a pinch of salt. Cook until tender and translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir from time to time, and if needed, add a splash of water, reduce the flame, or cover with a lid or a piece of parchment paper to entrap steam and keep color from developing.

6. In the meantime, squeeze the cooked chard (or nettles or spinach) leaves dry, then chop them roughly. Put them in a large bowl with the cilantro and dill. When the leeks and chard stems are cooked, add them to the greens. Use your hands to mix everything up evenly. Taste the mixture and season generously with salt, knowing you’re about to add a bunch of eggs to the mixture.

7. Add the eggs in, one at a time, until the mixture is just barely bound with egg — you might not need to use all nine eggs, depending on how wet your greens were and how large your eggs are. It should seem like a ridiculous amount of greens! I usually taste and adjust the mixture for salt at this point, but if you don’t want to taste raw egg, you can cook up a little test piece of kuku and adjust salt if needed.

8. Wipe out and reheat your pan over medium-high heat. (This is an important step to prevent the kuku from sticking.) Add 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then stir to combine. When the butter begins to foam, carefully pack the kuku mixture into the pan.

9. To help the kuku cook evenly, in the first few minutes of cooking, use a rubber spatula to gently pull the edges of the frittata into the center as they set. After about two minutes of this, reduce the heat to medium and let the kuku cook without touching it. You’ll know the pan is hot enough as long as the oil is gently bubbling up the sides of the kuku.

10. Because this kuku is so thick, it’ll take a while for the center to set. The key here is to not let the crust burn before the center sets. Peek at the crust by lifting the kuku with a rubber spatula, and if it’s getting too dark, too soon, then reduce the heat. Rotate the pan a quarter turn every 3 or 4 minutes to ensure even browning.

11. After about 10 minutes, gather all of your courage and prepare to flip the kuku. First, tip out as much of the cooking fat as you can into a bowl to prevent burning yourself, then flip the kuku onto a pizza pan or the back of a cookie sheet, or into another large frying pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil into the hot pan and slide the kuku back in to cook the second side. Cook for another 10 minutes, rotating the pan every 3 or 4 minutes.

12. If something goes awry when you try to flip, don’t freak out! It’s only lunch! Just do your best to flip the kuku, add a little more oil into the pan, and get it back into the pan in one piece. If you prefer not to flip, then slip the whole pan into the 350-degree oven and bake until the center is fully set, about 10 to 12 minutes. I like to cook it until it is just set. Check for doneness using a toothpick, or just by checking for a faint jiggle at the top of the frittata.

13. Remove from the oven when done and carefully flip out of the pan onto a plate. Eat warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Happy Winter Eating.


Lebo Moore

Food Hub Manager

Minnesota Food Association/Big River Farms

651-433-3676 ext.21