A Farmers Market Salad

farmers market salad

You’d never know it from this blog, but at 9 (!!) months pregnant, I’m still cooking dinner just about every night. Photos, too, are still being taken on a fairly regular basis, though they don’t often make it to my Flickr stream until days after the fact. As for the blogging… well, after commuting and work and more commuting and dinner-making and possibly ice cream, I’m lucky if I can keep my eyes open to read a chapter or two before passing out for the night. And I’m generally okay with that.

But I really had to tell you about this salad.

Farmers market season is in full swing here in New England, and between Providence and Boston, we could hit a market just about every day if we wanted. Though Mike and I are no longer just a short walk away, we still frequent the big Saturday market at Lippitt Park, and when we’re there, our friend Lynn (hi Lynn!) makes sure we don’t leave without a big bunch of kale.

Now, I like kale, I really do, but I had darn near run out of new or interesting ways to prepare it until I found a folded up page in the middle of a stack of old papers to be shredded. It was a printed list of specials from one of our favorite old NYC haunts, and as my eyes scanned the list of ingredients for this salad, I knew that even though I had never actually eaten it at any of our many visits to Diner, I’d have to try to replicate it at home.

sweet corn, shucked

I started with the dressing – a splash of red wine vinegar, a pinch of coarse sea salt, the juice of half a lemon, and a palmful of chopped fresh cilantro leaves, whisked together with just enough of our best olive oil to bring it all together. I added slivers of red onion next, allowing them to steep for a bit to lose their sharpness, then I added the kale – half a bunch or so, torn into manageable bites, tossing it with the dressing until the leaves were well-coated. Next came some fresh sweet corn (an ear’s worth of kernels), a couple of ripe white peaches, sliced, and finally, a shower of salty, crumbled Narragansett Creamery feta. Let it sit for a minute or five, until the kale softens up a bit. Then eat.

We ate this alongside Mike’s delicious brick chicken, but the salad was the star – an unexpected combination of flavors that worked just beautifully together. We each had two bowls of it, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making this right through the end of summer.

Summer Fruit Salad

stone fruit

For a girl who has never been much of a fruit eater, it’s a bit shocking to look back at the amount of it I’ve tucked away over the last week. What it boils down to, I suppose, is how much better real, farm-fresh fruit tastes than stuff that has traveled from another continent. Though this salad originally appeared in my Weekend Eats wrap-up, it was such a hit with us that I wanted to post about it here for this week’s edition of Summer Fest 2009.


Since I still prefer savory to sweet, it has been fun to find ways to incorporate gorgeous summer fruit into our meals. Breakfast lately has been a scoop of creamy ricotta with berries or stone fruit or both, and salads have gotten fruity, too, with peach and basil bread salad getting fairly heavy rotation. But my favorite fruit-filled salad has to be the one I made over the weekend, inspired by Suzanne Goin’s Summer Fruit Salad with Arugula and Marcona Almonds from Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

figs + berries

It’s a simple salad, a combination of (not local to us) figs, (definitely local) stone fruit and berries, peppery arugula, and crunchy Marcona almonds, but the dressing was perhaps my favorite part of the dish. It’s a simple vinaigrette, given richness and body with the addition of a bit of muddled fruit. To make it, I took the softest, ripest fig we had purchased, chopped it up and used Mike’s wooden cocktail muddler to pound it to a chunky puree, then I whisked it together with a pinch of salt, some of my quick-pickled shallots (chopped), sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

summer fruit salad

The dressing had a great sweet and sour flavor that married extremely well with our juicy plums and peaches, the tart black raspberries and blueberries, and the salt and pepper punch of the almonds and greens – this, to me, is exactly what a fruit salad should be.