Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wild Berry, Mizuna and Smoked Trout Salad

Yesterday's trip to the farmer's market bore no direction, or plans for dinner with corresponding list, so for the first time in a long while, my eyes and nose were the sole decision makers.  My haul:

One package "wild berries"
One bag of mizuna greens
One head of red leaf lettuce
One fuji apple
Baby zucchini, purchased because the same vendor a month ago was selling the predecessors to these zucchini in the form of squash blossoms some of which I used here, prompting the bright idea to follow and cook this vegetable through its growth cycle
One handful of sugar snap peas
One German pastry, of the cream cheese and strawberry variety
One bunch fresh flowers

In the office, I set up my flowers in a vase and victoriously ate one German pastry and an apple.  When I got home, I made a salad and stumbled upon a new favorite flavor combination that will obsess me for a while.  Dear readers, prepare for an onslaught of berries and peppery ingredients recipes to come, starting here.

Why didn't I know the flavor combination of spicy greens and berries was such a brilliant and complex one? Probably because I always shop with a list in hand, and those two things have never been on the same list.

Also, perhaps because I had never run into a package of baby strawberries before, and packages of baby strawberries are like boxes of free kittens. You cannot see them and not come home with one.

Introducing mizuna and berries together, in what I would call the lowest but most important function of fruits and vegetables; a salad.  It was so lovely a union it made the smoked trout seem like a wallflower in the same bowl.

Farmer's Market Salad
Burwell General Store

Serves: 2

Equipment: a pulse, and an empty stomach

This is my favorite kind of recipe. It involves handfuls of things.

Two cups of red leaf lettuce, about five smaller leaves, torn
About a cup and a half of mizuna greens, or arugula
One small handful of wild berries, or chopped strawberries, about 1/4 cup
A couple raw sugar snap peas, chopped
About one Tablespoon fresh grated Parmesan cheese
About a third of a cup of smoked trout or salmon (leftover from the day before)
A few turns of black pepper
About two Tablespoons of lemon juice

Wash and pat dry greens and berries, toss fish in lemon juice, assemble greens, top with fish, squeeze remaining lemon juice to taste over the salad, and eat with a loved one. I thought to put a little olive oil in but I am glad I didn't. I think olive oil would have bullied this dish right off the block.

I don't want to be flip about having access to amazing year-round growing seasons while the rest of the country is still shivering cold, but wherever we are, we are not far from a farmer who would love to tell us what's in their backyard garden. Perhaps our next surprise is right around the corner from us. Drop the list, and go meet someone new!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE mizuna!! It's great with goatcheese and a squeeze of lemon too! And those strawberries!!It's going to be a few months before we see strawberries here- maybe longer since our spring has been so cold. This salad has me longing for warm weather.


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