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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Using up your Leftovers

I went to the farmers market in Union Square on Saturday to pick up some cilantro for some quesadillas I was making for dinner. I intended to sprinkle a few pieces into the dish to brighten up the flavor a bit, but what I got at the farmers market could have made 100 quesadillas.

This made me think, what other things could I do with the left over cilantro. The guy at the market suggested pesto, but I'd just made basil pesto a couple of days earlier so I thought I'd go with a chimichurri sauce instead. For those of you who don't like cilantro, chimichurri is usually made with flat leaf parsley, but I thought cilantro was a nice substitute.

On Sunday, I went to the farmers market in Thompkins Square Park. It's small, but you can rely on it in a pinch. I already had most of the ingredients for my chimichurri at home, so I just had to pick up an onion, a few shiitake mushrooms, and a protein. They only seemed to have cippolini onions at the market, but that was fine with me. I picked up a couple for about a buck.

For the protein, chimichurri is often served with beef, but I thought I'd go with seafood since there was a nice fish vendor in the market. I picked up a half a pound of bay scallops for $9 and was on my way. Bay scallops are more common to find at the farmers markets in NYC than sea scallops. They're smaller, but the flavor is very sweet.

Today I purchased:

At the farmers market:
2 cippolini onions
1/2 lb of bay scallops
1 bunch of cilantro
5 shiitake mushrooms

Supplementary ingredients I had at home:
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Crushed Red Pepper
Jasmine Rice
White wine

Recipe: Scallops in a Chimichurri Sauce Over Jasmin Rice (serves 2)

1 cup of jasmine rice
2 cups of cilantro, densely packed
5 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped onion
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of lime juice
Kosher salt and red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 lb of bay scallops
5 shiitake mushroom caps sliced
1/4 cup of white wine

Start by making the chimichurri sauce since this needs to sit for at least 20 minutes. A lot of the recipes called for chopping the cilantro, garlic, and onion in a food processor first, then mixing it with the olive oil and the red wine vinegar afterwards, but since I only have a blender and a very tiny food prep chopper, I had to add the liquid to the blender in order for it to work. I thought that this still came out very well, but feel free to add the liquid ingredients afterwards in a bowl and just mix it.

So basically, I added all of the ingredients except the scallops, mushrooms, and rice into the blender and pulsed until it was just blended, and the cilantro, garlic, and onions were chopped.

Once this is at the consistency you want it, pour it into a bowl and set it aside.

Next, put the rice on. Just follow the package instructions for this. I always find that I need to add a little more water than the package calls for, but it will depend on your stove.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan on medium-high. Saute the mushrooms with a clove of chopped garlic. Add salt and pepper, and the 1/4 cup of white wine. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and the wine has cooked off. Add to the rice when it is finished cooking.

Wash the scallops and pat them dry, then sprinkle them with kosher salt and pepper. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan. Sautee scallops over medium-high heat for about 2 or 3 minutes until they are just lightly golden brown on all sides. Then remove the scallops from the pan.

To assemble the dish I just placed the rice in the center of the plate, placed 5 or 6 scallops on top, then drizzled the chimichurri sauce on top.

I mixed everything together before eating so the sauce was well incorporated throughout the dish. This was a very easy and tasty meal to make with left over herbs and a couple of other key ingredients. Feel free to experiment with your favorite herb.

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