Spring's Farmer's Market Finds

   By Erin Coopey  May 10, 2010
19

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: 

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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Comments
cmjune76 by cmjune76 | LAKEWOOD, WA
Jun 07, 2010

sounds delicious! our farmer market open this wednesday!

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
May 30, 2010

I love fresh veggies and fruits and almost every kind too! Farmers markets are great places to find these also I only wish I could grow my own as well but working full time and living in an apartment don't make that possible.

hypnicjerk by hypnicjerk | Seattle, WA
May 24, 2010

Farmers Markets are my favorite way to shop for the best freshest produce...and more! Thanks for the great article. Your insights are very inspirational!

pukwudjies by pukwudjies | Seattle, WA
May 23, 2010

As always, I am inspired and now... hungry! I think we will have to walk to our local market today!

LuckyMommaJ by LuckyMommaJ | SEQUIM, WA
May 21, 2010

I love getting produce from the farmer's market, because you know whatever you buy is fresh and in season and local. produce that is shipped is picked before it is ripe, packaged dirty and with bugs, transported, easily spoils the minute after it is "ripe" enough to eat (fruit should ripen before it is picked) and doesn't taste as good!

vangele by vangele | Knoxville, TN
May 20, 2010

Our favorite soup recipe is Potato Leek Soup - I've made it for years and am glad to see leeks are more available now than they used to be. Email me if you would like the recipe - it's delicious!

littletrisket by littletrisket | sapulpa, OK
May 19, 2010

We are headed to the farmers market this weekend in tulsa. I can't wait there is something nice and wholesome about the farmers market

ChefErin by ChefErin | SEATTLE, WA
May 19, 2010

All - It's wonderful to read about how many of you make the farmers market a family affair. It's great way to get kids involved and trying new things! Chef Erin

mustangshelly by mustangshelly | casey, IA
May 19, 2010

Our Farmers market has grown by leeps and bounds. It is THE place to be on Saturday morning. I love the variety of items and the people watching. We have on lady who shares her recipes aloud while she is selling her veggies. Better remember your paper and pen, she never writes anything down. People line up for blocks for their favorite veggies, I have one kid in each line so that I wont miss out on anything. Thanks for the recipe, I will be adding it to my summer dinner menus.

llogan94 by llogan94 | Coventry, RI
May 19, 2010

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

naturalgal by naturalgal | EUREKA, MT
May 19, 2010

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!

supermommy828 by supermommy828 | plainfield, IL
May 19, 2010

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

underamoon by underamoon | Monroe, CT
May 19, 2010

Sounds yummy

tarheel4ever by tarheel4ever | Salisbury, NC
May 19, 2010

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

Wordsnob by Wordsnob | Racine, WI
May 19, 2010

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!