After work yesterday I took a detour up to the Union Square green market to stock up on some produce for the week. Even though the farmers were getting ready to pack up for the day, there was still an abundance of things to choose from and everything looked good. Fresh microgreens, heirloom tomatoes, crates of juicy fruit, artisan cheeses... how's a girl to choose?! My instinct was to buy a little of everything. I was excitedly wandering around from stand to stand thinking "How can I possibly pass up fresh shiso leaves?? Oh, and look, fresh lavender! And, wow, those eggplants are gorgeous!". After my sudden bout of vegetable induced ADD calmed down, I began to come to terms with the fact that I would have to narrow it down to just a few things. I ended up leaving with some beautiful heirloom bell peppers, fresh cranberry beans, scallions, snap peas, shishito peppers, calaloo (a dark leafy green that is originally from the Caribbean) and a pint of sweet plums. That should keep me busy until at least, say, Thursday?
Now, the question was, what to do with all of this produce? I had plans to make a fried rice dish so I decided to throw in the sweet peppers, scallions and snap peas. The outcome was delicious and tasted much fresher (and much less greasy!) than Chinese takeout. I used these vegetables just because that was what jumped out at me at the market, but feel free to play around with it, almost anything will work in here.
One key to making good fried rice is to use cold, cooked rice. So be sure to plan ahead and get the rice cooking early so that it has enough time to cool completely. I usually spread my cooked rice out on a sheet pan and pop it in the refrigerator to help along the cooling process. Or, as you've probably already guessed, this is a fantastic way to use up leftover rice from last night's delivery.
Fried Rice with Summer Vegetables
2 cups cooked brown or white rice (preferably long grain)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 lb wild shrimp
1/2 onion, chopped
1 large or 2 small bell peppers, chopped
1/3 lb sugar snap peas, chopped into thirds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1" piece fresh ginger, grated
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 scallions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Heat canola oil in a large wok over med-high heat. When oil is hot add onion, bell pepper and snap peas. Saute for about 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add shrimp and cook just a minute or two until they turn pink on the outside and almost (but not quite) fully cooked. Add the eggs, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper and stir, breaking up the egg with your spoon. When the egg is scrambled and browning slightly stir in the rice, scallions, soy sauce and fish sauce. Turn off heat and stir in the sesame oil.