Thursday, June 24, 2010
Cooking Local: Beautiful Beet Salad
Seasonal farmers’ markets are something of a novelty for me. I’ve been to permanent markets in Montreal, where farmers sell some of their produce, but they just aren’t the same as the lovely little Redmond Saturday Market that I can walk to from my apartment. Redmond’s farmers’ market runs every Saturday from May through October, and seems to be different each week. There are some constants: the quiet farmer right at the entrance whose produce is all organic, though he no longer carries the USDA organic certification, because he “doesn’t need to pay the government to tell (him) something (he) already knows,” the various food vendors, like the crepe stand, the tamale stand, and the Hawaiian ice stand, the eggs and dairy stand where you can get chicken eggs that were gathered that very morning, and the farmer with long hair that runs all the way down his back, who always tells you what he’ll be selling the following week. What changes, though, is the produce on sale because, of course, as the season progresses, the crops that are ready for harvesting change. I try to go to the market without a plan in mind in terms of what I’ll buy: I purchase whatever inspires me and then I work with that.
The salad in question is a beet salad, made with some kind of green, or often a combination of a few varieties, tossed with a vinaigrette, usually balsamic, and dotted with roasted beets, chèvre, and often some kind of nut, usually walnuts or hazelnuts.
This time, I made mine with farmers’ market spinach, and green beans that I blanched and shocked (dropped into boiling water for about 45 seconds, then immediately plunged into ice water to stop the cooking process), unfortunately not from the market …
Next, I dotted the salad with some of that amazing chèvre, and drizzled it all one more time with the vinaigrette.
I won’t give a proper recipe, because you should definitely try making a version of your own. Try different greens, different vinaigrettes, and different vegetables. Go to your local farmers’ market, and see what inspires you!