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Spring's Farmer's Market Finds

Spring's Farmer's Market Finds

Last Sunday I took a walk through my local farmers market. We’ve had a mild winter and warm spring up here in the northwest and I wanted to see what was fresh. Among the many flower stalls, fish mongers, and bakeries were the first signs of spring. I found a plethora of spring greens including mizuna, arugula, and mache. Herbs were in abundance - fresh chives, sorrel, mint, and chervil, to name a few. There were a variety of new potatoes as well including dutch babies, red-skinned, and fingerlings.  

I also found some young, tender leeks. We don’t eat leeks as often in America as they do in Europe. It’s a shame because they are a delicious vegetable; an elegant member of the onion family. Their flavor is more subtle and sophisticated than their strong cousins. Leeks are also an excellent source of vitamin c, iron, and fiber.  

Inspired by my experience, I started to envision a spring menu. The lovely leeks, fresh spring herbs and greens, baby potatoes...the menu practically wrote itself.

 

Here’s my farmers market-inspired spring menu: 

"We don't eat leeks as often in America as they do in Europe. It's a shame because they are a delicious vegetable"

Braised Leeks (recipe below)

Mixed Spring Greens with Fresh Goat Cheese

Steamed Baby Potatoes with Mint Butter

Herb-Crusted Rack of Spring Lamb 

 

Braised Leeks

8 small to medium leeks

1/2cup finely diced onions

1/4 cup finely diced carrots

1/4 cup finely diced celery

2 Tbsp. butter

1 cup chicken broth

4 slices of French bread, optional

kosher salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  

 

To prepare the leeks, trim off the dark green stalks. Without cutting entirely through the root, slit the leeks lengthwise and rinse under cold water to remove all of the dirt.  

Blanch leeks for about 30 seconds and shock in an ice bath. Cut through the remaining tip of the leek and remove the roots.  

Next, melt the butter in a small sauté pan. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook over medium low heat until the onions become transparent, about 10 minutes. Spoon the cooked vegetable mixture into a medium-size casserole dish (one just large enough to accommodate your leeks). Place the blanched leeks on top of the vegetables and then add the chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover with the French bread (delicious when the dish is finished) or foil. Bake until leeks are tender, about 35 minutes.  

To serve, lift off the toasted bread, and spoon the leeks onto plates. Garnish by spooning the chopped vegetables over the leeks. Serve with the toasted bread. Serves 4. 

Have you visited a farmers market yet this year?  What inspired you?  Please share your favorite spring dish or menu idea!


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  • msfriendly By msfriendly
    05.12.10  

    I love, love, love going to the farmers market! You know where your food came from, it;s fresh and sooo good! There are a lot of organic choices too.

  • Momof2Divas By Momof2Divas
    05.18.10  

    I absolutely love Farmer's Markets. I sometimes bring my kids with me so they can get to experience different things and my 6 year old always have questions to ask the local farmers. My kids love honey so it is really a treat for them to taste different flavors of honey at the market. Something that they dont get to do in the supermarket. I love different varieties of breads and in general I support my local growers. And why not buy something that was picked a night before or that morning, rather than something that traveled across the country for 3 days. Save it for winter.

  • rachel_ayala By rachel_ayala
    05.18.10  

    I love going to the local farmers markets. They usually have a better selection of what I am looking for anyways!

  • ostmega By ostmega
    05.18.10  

    Our farmers market is small, but our family loves to go there! My 7 year old has his favorite stops and we get to say hello to many friends and neighbors. We were lucky this year to also get a share in a CSA started by one of the farmers at our market, so we have our weekly share, but get to add special things every week, too. Maybe we'll get some leeks soon and I can give this recipe a try!

  • Wordsnob By Wordsnob
    05.19.10  

    Our farmer's market opens today and I cannot wait to go shopping! My kids love walking around and it's a great place to alk about colours and counting!

  • tarheel4ever By tarheel4ever
    05.19.10  

    Farmer's Market means fresh vegetables and getting advice from the people who know food so well - the ones who grow it!

  • underamoon By underamoon
    05.19.10  

    Sounds yummy

  • supermommy828 By supermommy828
    05.19.10  

    i read something about leeks the other day and i did not really know what they were. But now with this recipe i will have to try it! the farmer market is by far the best place to get honest produce at good prices

  • naturalgal By naturalgal
    05.19.10  

    This is lovely - thank you! I am thrilled to not only get to go to the Farmer's Market weekly, but also participated in purchasing a CSA thorugh a local farm. We receive our first box of produce tonight at the Farmer's Market. Yes - support your local farmers and their families!

  • llogan94 By llogan94
    05.19.10  

    I love being able to support local farmers and the produce is so much better than the market.

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