Shopping the Farmers Market: Why Blog

After years of frequenting the farmers markets in NYC, but only buying a few supplemental ingredients here or there, I decided to be experimental and work dishes around what is in season or looks particularly mouthwatering at the market that day. Green seems to be the buzz word these days from NYC to the White House, and the eat local movement is in full swing. My attempt here is to buy as many ingredients as possible from a the farmers market, and then occasionally supplement with locally produced ingredients from chain markets around the city. Most of the recipes I post (except for the baking recipes) are either things I created myself, or variations on recipes I've found elsewhere. I hope that you take the recipes and shopping tips here and they inspire you to do your own local cooking.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer Fruit Done Savory

Today my friend Sarah and I hit the Grand Army Plaza farmers market. I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw, since it seemed to be larger than I remembered it being from last time I was there. I was immediately drawn to the fruit, fuzzy white peaches, plump raspberries, and juicy blueberries. I thought about making muffins, but I couldn't seem to find my trusted muffin recipe when I looked this morning, so decided I'd leave the baking for later in the month. As I was looking for an accompaniment for the raspberries and strawberries I came across late season rhubarb. It was in a meager pile at one of the meat vendors, but I snapped some up anyway. I've used rhubarb quite a bit, but always in desserts. Just as I was running through compote and crisp recipes in my head, my friend suggested making a savory dish with the rhubarb instead. I liked that immediately, and from that came the recipe below.

This recipe was loosely based on a salmon recipe I got off of Epicurious that had the salmon sitting on a bed of cabbage stewed in the rhubarb liquid. I don't like my food to be too sweet so I substituted the stewed cabbage with kale I had bought at the market, and fried it in bacon fat, but I'll get to that later. I'm also not a huge cooked salmon fan, and I saw some lovely mahi mahi so I used that instead.

What you'll need:
2 oranges juiced
1 lemon
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons of coriander
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups of rhubarb cut into 2 inch pieces and sliced lengthwise
3 mahi mahi filets
4 cups of kale
3 strips of bacon
olive oil
1/2 cup of Greek yogurt

Bring orange juice, sugar, water, and orange peel to boil in medium size pot, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; add mustard, coriander, and ginger. Simmer until syrupy, 10 minutes. Add rhubarb; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until rhubarb is tender but intact, 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer rhubarb to a bowl; reserve.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the fish with olive oil, salt and pepper. After you've removed the rhubarb and before you put the fish in the oven, lightly brush the fish with the reduced syrup. Bake fish for 5 minutes remove from oven, flip over, brush with syrup again, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Now to the kale. I love kale, I'll eat it raw, but when it's cooked it can often be flavorless if you don't cook it correctly. I like to saute mine in bacon fat (also a recommendation years ago from Sarah). I started by cooking three pieces of bacon in a skillet, then once I removed the bacon I threw the kale in on medium/high heat. I sauteed the kale for a couple of minutes keeping it moving with tongs, then added salt and pepper. Once it started to turn a brighter green I added a few tablespoons of orange juice to the pan, covered it, and let it steam for a minute. I actually found that the kale was too sweet for me with the orange juice, but I feel it would be perfect if I used lemon juice instead...but that's personal preference. After a minute I removed the cover and turned off the heat.

I placed the kale in the center of the plate (sprinkled with a few pieces of crumbled up bacon because who can resist bacon), and a piece of the fish on top. The original Epicurious recipe called for a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. I had found some dill at the farmers market that I was dying to use, so I added a little to the yogurt which actually made me really happy. A dollop of that went on top of the fish, then I spooned some of the rhubarb on top of that.

I was actually quite pleased with this recipe. While cooking it I was afraid it would be too sweet for me, but the mixture of the salty kale and the sweet rhubarb really worked, especially when it was mixed with the yogurt. I'm looking forward to another trip to the market later this week, there were some really lovely yellow and green squash that I think would be perfect on top of a pizza.

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