Monday, April 23, 2012

Back to the Farmer's Market

7 Recipes to Get You Back to the Farmers' Market

Chow on 04.20.12
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Photo: General Photographic Agency/Getty Images
I am lucky enough to have two year-round farmers' markets in my neighbourhood, but I admit I don't go that often during the winter. Sometimes I go to buy eggs or meat, but for me the real allure of the market is the array of fresh, seasonal vegetables. Yesterday was the beginning of the season with the very first of the wild leeks, and the first harvest of baby greens.
There is something very heady about the first whiff of wild leeks and the earthy aroma they impart. I couldn't wait to get home and start cooking with them. Last night I made Chinese scallion pancakes, replacing the scallions with wild leeks and they were pretty fantastic. Of course, Toronto is a week or two behind in the harvest because we are that much further north, so many of you will already had the pleasure of the first spring vegetables.
Here are seven recipes to entice you back to the farmers' market where you live.

1. Rainbow Trout with Wild Leeks

Photo: Kelly Rossiter
I am not a fish eater at all, but even I love the fish from our farmers' market. The fisherman goes out for the catch in Georgian Bay and then drives to Toronto that day or the next for the freshest fish you can get in Ontario. This rainbow trout with wild leeks was a happy marriage of two wonderful market products.

2. Grilled Asparagus

Photo: Kelly Rossiter
For people who are used to steamed asparagus, grilled asparagus can be a big eye-opener. I love the crispiness and the intensity of flavour that you get when you grill it. If you don't have a grill, you can also roast it in the oven, at a very high heat to get the same affect. There are a couple of recipes in that post for dipping sauces as well.

3. Fiddlehead. Wild Leek and Asparagus Ragout

Photo: Kelly Rossiter
This fiddlehead, wild leek and asparagus ragout is like springtime in a bowl. This super healthy dish was so delicious I made it again later in the week, and then turned the leftovers into a soup.

4. Arugula, Goat Cheese and Walnut Salad

Photo: Kelly Rossiter
I love adding cheese to salads like I did in this arugula, goat cheese and walnut salad. Arugula can be a bit peppery and your kids might not like it, so you might want to use some other baby greens with this salad. You can always use a sheep's milk cheese, or some feta if you prefer.

5. Wild Leek Pesto

Photo: Kelly Rossiter
I've used wild leek pesto as a base for pizza here in this photo, but it's great on pasta. You can make pesto out of just about anything, like asparagus and kale, and you can freeze it for a taste of spring during the long winter months.

6. Dandelion Quiche

Photo: Kelly Rossiter
It wasn't until I was an adult that I ever heard of people eating dandelions. At my parents house, they were an invasive pest to be rooted out at all costs, an attitude that still prevails today. They are however, delicious in this dandelion quiche. They are also great in this recipe for a salad with spinach and croutons made from haloumi.

7. Asparagus with Leeks

Photo: Emma Alter
This was a wonderful, tangy dish of asparagus and leeks. The recipe says to serve it right away, but it's also really good at room temperature.

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