How are you doing? How my Miami sunshine ?
Over here in London, summer is a period during which the sun is turns unusually shy. It seems like the sun is now effectively embarrassed of all the beautiful golden light we had over the months of April and May, and is now regretting them, giving way to torrential down pour on too many occasions… Apparently, that is what summer means in the UK. Honestly, don’t think I can deal with that for a lifetime. So on the rare occasions where we have sunshine, it is essential to take advantage of it and get outside!
A couple weekends ago, I decided to venture out with a freind of mine and go explore one of the farmer’s markets around London (London Field’s Farmers’ Market). It was a good 2 mile hike to get to it, but it was absolutely worth every step A good farmer’s market, is like a beauty pageant for produce. Every farmer is gloating about the quality, superiority and beauty of the fruits of their labor. It is also a place that reminds me of what is and isn’t in season, and if the display isn’t explicit enough, the farmers will be the first to slightly mock you if you happen to ask for raspberries in the early days of the month of May… I’m a city girl, damn it, what can I do!
Also, the farmer’s market is where I discover new food things, and preparation methods. There really is an impressive plethora of knowledge that these farmers bring with them, so if you don’t know what to do with an ingredient ASK! Seriously, you will be amazed by the variety and detail in preparation some will go into. On this trip, I discovered the edible blossoms of chives(above in purple) and fresh garlic greens & blossoms (also known as “wet” garlic, the name of which I am not a particular fan). The garlic greens specifically have opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities. As one of the farmers told me, it can be added to any cold dish chopped and raw, or if it is to be incorporated into a cooked dish, it should be added at the very end to retain its delicate garlic flavor – much the way you treat any fresh herb. The blossoms on the other hand are phenomenally weird. Why?
Firstly, Because eating flowers seems like something only Ancient Greek Gods would do, along with drinking their divine nectar. When you eat a flower, you are effectively eating something so beautiful it seems too exquisite for a mere mortal. Secondly, their taste is sweet, almost like a drop of syrup has been deposited inside the flower, then almost immediately you are hit with a most explosive taste of the actual plant! KABOOM! GARLICCCCC!! (Or CHIVEEEEE) So now, you have not only eaten the food of the gods, but they can now smell your breath from Mount Olympus!
Additionally to the above, I picked up some gorgeously coloured tomatoes, 3 bunches of deliciously tender asparagus, a plump buffalo mozzarella ball and a most scrumptious olive ciabatta bread. And we were off, each returning to her home and make the beautiful produce shine to our best abilities.
I made 3 Salads:
- Patatosalata, as mentioned lost year in this post(where you can also find the recipe), it is one of my favorites. It is lemony, it is earthy and delicious as a side with anything! This time, though, I tried something new, I quickly blanched the onions to take away their really strong kick, leaving behind only the sweetness and a soft fragrance of onion. I highly recommend doing this, particularly if you know that you will not be finishing this salad in one sitting, as raw onion has a tendency to take on a rather overpowering smell as it seeps into the other ingredients.
- Tricolore Caprese with Garlic Greens & Buffalo Mozzarella – a classic favorite way to serve up delicious tomatoes with really indulgent mozzarella. The addition of the garlic greens added a nice subtle kick.
- Ottolenghi’s Asparagus and Egg Salad – this is one of those recipes that I had clipped out of a magazine a long time ago, and had been on my “must try this” list… for the past 3 years. The nice part of this recipe is that it is a much simpler, lighter and quicker version of the traditional way to server asparagus with hollandaise.
Tricolore Caprese with Garlic Greens & Buffalo Mozzarella
Serves 4 (I made half the recipe)
- 1 large orange tomato (mild in flavor, but nice flesh texture)
- 4 small yellow tomatoes (sweet and light in both flavor and texture)
- 2 black tomatoes (very sweet flavor, very soft texture)
- 1 ball buffalo mozzarella
- 2 large garlic greens (chopped into strips)
- few large leaves of basil (chopped into strips)
- olive oil (to drizzle)
- balsamic vinegar (to drizzle)
- * 1/4 cup sliced onion (optional)
- Cut tomatoes into thick wedges, place in serving bowl.
- Tear mozzarella ball with your hands, in large bite size pieces, place over the tomatoes.
- Shread the garlic and basil leaves, sprinkle on top.
- Lightly dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Carefully toss your salad, to spread the oil and vinegar around. Serve immediately.
Ottolenghi-Inspired Asparagus & Egg Salad
I adapted his recipe, tweaking it slightly to better suit my taste.
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 egg (hard boiled and peeled)
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lemon’s juice
- pinch of salt flakes
- fresh ground pepper
- Put a medium pot with cold water to boil.
- Trim asparagus, to maintain only the tender parts (easy way to know what the tender parts are, bend the asparagus towards the end of the stalk until it snaps).
- When water is boiling, add asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Drain immediately and place in a serving plate.
- Chop the hard boiled egg finely, and scatter over the asparagus. Top with capers. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over the asparagus and finish off with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.