You’ve heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store?” Well that kid was me this past weekend at the Farmers’ Market in Palos Verdes. If it looked tasty, I bought it. No restraint whatsoever. From Japanese eggplant to okra to heirloom tomatoes. And asatsuki, carrots, red serranos, beets, patty pan squash, spinach, garlic, Anaheim chiles, Thai basil, mitsuba…I had no plan, no recipe in mind. I was simply vegetable-crazy.
8-layer farmers’ market fantasy
curried fresh carrot juice sauce with blanched okra & mitsuba
grilled green & yellow patty pan squash
sautéed spinach with sesame, garlic, soy sauce
crispy polenta cake
fire-roasted anaheim chile
fresh goat cheese & asatsuki
cumin dusted grilled beet
spicy smoky heirloom tomato & thai basil
roasted japanese eggplant, maldon smoked sea salt flakes
To make the sauce: juice fresh organic carrots. Heat 1/2 c. carrot juice and simmer for 5 minutes. When juice comes to room temperature, blend with about 1/3 c. good fruity olive oil, 1/2 t. curry powder, sea salt and fresh ground white pepper. Blanch whole okra spears in boiling water for 3 minutes then shock in an ice bath. Slice okra on a diagonal. Tear mitsuba leaves into thirds. Set aside.
Slice patty pan squash into wheels. Place wheels on grill over high heat and brush with a mixture of 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 t. sea salt, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 t. gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes). Place one green slice plus one yellow slice in the center of the sauce.
Briefly sauté minced garlic in a small amount of toasted sesame oil. Add a splash of soy sauce and then fresh spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cook polenta then spread it out in a baking dish to the thickness of just under an inch. Chill in the refrigerator for two hours. Cut polenta into rounds with a metal ring or cookie cutter. Fry in hot peanut oil until golden and crispy on both sides.
Roast Anaheim chiles until the skin is blackened and blistered. Place chiles in a large bowl and cover with a towel. After 15 minutes peel the skin off the chiles. Remove stems and seeds. Cut into thick strips.
Spread fresh goat cheese on top of the chile layer. Top with minced asatsuki (Japanese chives).
Peel and slice beets. Grill until lightly charred. Brush with olive oil and dust with ground cumin and sea salt flakes.
Thickly slice heirloom tomatoes, brush with a mixture of 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. low sodium soy sauce, 1/4 t. sea salt, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 t. gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes). Grill until the tomato is hot and bubbling. Remove skin. Top with chiffonade of Thai basil.
Slice Japanese eggplant in half lengthwise. Grill over high heat until charred on both sides. Brush with olive oil and season with Maldon smoked sea salt flakes. When cool, peel off the skin and cut into batons. Place eggplant batons on top of the tomato and basil. Finally add okra slices and mitsuba, and a sprinkling of asatsuki to the carrot juice sauce.
With its variety of textures, colors, and fresh-picked flavors this dish was an all-around winner. And I was especially pleased with the bright and lively curried carrot juice sauce with okra and mitsuba. Looking forward to pairing this sauce with pasta or fresh fish, maybe halibut? The 8-layer farmers’ market fantasy used every herb and vegetable purchased at the market except one. It turned out that the Anaheim chiles were much hotter than usual so there was no place for the red serranos…
Natasha, the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! host the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group, an outstanding monthly event for “sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations.”
“This is an exciting time of the year as the farmers’ markets are open everywhere, offering wonderful summer produce. This month’s theme is Farmers’ Market, and the challenge is to create a gourmet and unique 5-star style dish with seasonal ingredients from your local farmers’ market. All of the ingredients other than basic pantry items must come from the farmers’ market, otherwise you can do anything you like. Have fun and we can’t wait to see your creations!”
A round-up of all the fresh & fabulous Farmers’ Market dishes can be found on Natasha’s blog here.