When I woke up this morning, I saw the sunlight shine on the Chef’s closed eyes for a moment. When the warmth on his eyelids woke him up, he turned toward me and kissed me. “I love you,” he said, which are the first words he utters every day. And then he turned toward the windows and saw that blue-sky day outside.
“We get to go to the market today!”
Saturdays are special around here. It’s a work day for both of us. He’s cooking all day, and I’m writing and running errands for us. But now, Saturdays are back to spectacular, because the University District farmers’ market is open for the spring season.
Early this afternoon, as we walked around, we sampled goat cheeses, ogled the fat jars of honey and fiddlehead ferns, and wondered if we should buy more tulips. I could have walked up to nearly every stand and said, “Yes, please!” (Not the one selling bread made of ancient emmer wheat, however.) Everything looked vibrant and alive.
This is my favorite way of shopping. A handful of radishes, a small bunch of fresh chives with the blossoms still on them, the first cilantro of the season, and a clutch of mizuna leaves. With that, and the ball of local goat cheese I bought from our favorite stand, we are going to have one kick-ass salad tonight.
Spring is clearly, definitively here. And these images are all I need to make me feel grateful.
Farmers’ market salad
This is what we will be eating tonight, along with roasted pork belly and mashed potatoes. Of course, you should feel free to substitute any fresh vegetables and greens you have at hand. Try the ones you saw at the farmers’ market this morning.
1 clutch of mizuna, shredded into bite-size pieces
1 handful baby arugula leaves
1/4 head radicchio, diced
10 baby carrots, peeled and diced
1 small bunch baby cilantro, chopped fine
1 small bunch fresh chives, minced
2 ounces local fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
chive flowers for garnish
Throw the mizuna, arugula, radicchio, carrots, cilantro, and chives into a large bowl. Mix. Dress with balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe below). Toss and taste, to make sure the salad tastes vibrant on your tongue. Portion out the salad. Top with the goat cheese, sunflower seeds, and chive flowers. Serve.
Feeds 2 people hungry for greens.
1/3 cup high-quality balsamic vinegar
1 medium shallot, fine diced
1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Put the balsamic vinegar, shallot, salt, and pepper into your blender. Turn it on and let it whirl around. Slowly, add the canola oil to the mixture as the blender runs. Next, add the olive oil, as slowly as possible. You will hear the pitch of the blender drop when the vinaigrette has emulsified. Run for one minute more.
Makes enough for five salads.