After all the ice creams, cakes and muffins I felt like cooking vegetables today. Tuesdays and Fridays is market day at the Bürkliplatz in Zürich so I decided to browse the market stalls for some fruit n’ veg (reminds me of Eastenders…). I had a great time and it reminded me of how nice it is to have a little chat in the morning and have the sellers recommend stuff to you instead of getting your usual (boring) veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, fennel etc. in your supermarket.
At the market I saw lots of things I have never tasted let alone cooked with before. Here is what I took home with me:
I have never cooked root parsley before and when I asked the lady at the stall how she cooked it she said she just boils or steams it like other root vegetables such as carrots. An older lady next to me then told me that she always makes soup with it together with potatoes and some Noilly Prat. I decided that the latter was going to be the recipe for today.
But then I saw the buck’s horn plantain at another stall and wanted to buy some of that as well. The lady at the stall there gave me her recipe for buck’s horn plantain spaghetti which is simply to add the buck’s horn plantain to the boiling spaghetti water about 6 minutes before the spaghetti are done and then add some tomato sauce. An easy recipe no. 2.
For the soup I diced the potatoes and parsley root.
I boiled the vegetables in 7.5 dl of beef stock for approx. 15-20 minutes and blended them. Then I added a dash of cream and a dash of milk to get the right soupy consistency. I seasoned it with salt, pepper and some nutmeg and that was it. The soup tastes really lovely. The parsley root tastes a bit like celery root but not as strong and a little sweeter.
For the spaghetti I first chopped half an onion, one tomato and one of the round courgettes and sweated them off in some olive oil. I then added some water, balsamic vinegar and capers and let it simmer on low heat until I got a nice sauce.
I boiled the spaghetti and added the buck’s horn plantain 5-6 minutes before the spaghetti were done.
It is very difficult to describe what the buck’s horn plantain tastes like. It is very bland but still has a fresh taste. If I had to compare it to a familiar taste I’d say it is somewhat similar to Swiss chard (in German Krautstiel or Mangold). It is nice but frankly it does not add much to the dish and I don’t think I will buy and cook it regularly.
Now I know that these were two fairly easy recipes. But two recipes nevertheless so you can expect me to shout RAINCHECK some day soon. And I would like to end this post with a call for you to pay your local market a visit. You’ll find small treasures there that your big supermarket chain won’t bother stocking. The fruit and veg might be slightly more expensive but you’ll get great recipes and a nice chat on top for free.