We haven’t had rain in New England in about 2 weeks, and there is none in the forecast for the next one. Temperatures are predicted to hit 90F every day this week. Technically, though, this is not a drought. Perhaps, the water tables are still high from the flooding we had in March.
Drought or no drought, my garden is parched as can be. On the bright side, it makes weeding much easier. The soil is so dry that the weeds, roots and all, pluck out easily.
If I were to employ proper watering technique, I would need to water only every 3 days. That means saturating the soil 6 – 8 inches deep. While the moisture from the top layer is susceptible to evaporation, this gives a buffer and the roots can still pull the moisture up. When I water, I only manage to get about 1 inch deep. I think it’s just a matter of patience, or lack thereof. I water for about 15 minutes and then I get bored… I really need a sprinkler system to spray for at least one hour.
The other factor to consider when watering is the timing: water either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The foliage needs a chance to dry before the sun hits them. Otherwise the leaves will burn. Also, this gives the water a chance to seep deep into the soil before evaporating from the heat of the sun.
Despite my less than stellar watering habits, I was still able to harvest several beets. And they were as sweet as can be.
Pistachio and Horseradish Crusted Salmon with Beet Lyonnaise
This recipe is adapted from Daniele Baliani. We worked together under Lydia Shire, and again when I had my business Interactive Cuisine. Today, you can find him heading up the kitchen at Il Casale.
Beet Lyonnaise1medium onion, julienned
4 medium sized beets, peeled and sliced
2 oz. double smoked bacon
Salmon2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
4 salmon filets
2 tbs. prepared horseradish
1/2 cup crushed pistachios
Salt and pepper to taste
1. For the beets: place the bacon in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Add the smoked bacon., and cook until it begins to release its fat. Add the julienned onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add the sliced beets. Continue cooking over medium high heat until the beets are tender (Note: as the beets cook they will release a bit of water. If the heat is too low, the beets will release too much water and boil and you will end up with beet soup! If the heat is too high, they will stick to the pan and burn! Be careful and watch this step closely) Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. For the salmon: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, add 2 tbs. of olive oil. Brown salmon on both sides and transfer filets to a cookie sheet. Rub each filet with the prepared horseradish. Sprinkle pistachios on top of the filets. And bake for 7 – 10 minutes until a crust has formed.
You can serve the salmon with a watercress salad, I opted for a bed of wilted kale from the garden.
From the garden: beets, garlic, kale