I missed you, farmers’ market!
When my husband and I first moved to California, our weekends revolved around farmer’s markets. If we couldn’t make it to the Foothill Farmers’ Market in Auburn on Saturday, we made sure to go to the Certified California-Grown Farmers’ Market in Sacramento on Sunday. For the most part, we knew what produce was in season, and what we were planning on getting. We made friends with the vendors, and were greeted with a hearty hello each visit. It was fulfilling to be part of a community of growers who cared about their animals and land, the quality of food they produced, and the customers they were providing for.
Over time though, we weren’t able to dedicate as much time to farmers’ markets. And since moving to Sacramento just a half-year ago, we’ve only made it out a handful of times. However, my husband and I just moved to the Southside Park area of Sacramento late last month. We are now only a few short blocks away from the Sunday Farmers’ Market, and we could not be more excited! Our passion for shopping the local markets has been renewed!
After completing our move two weekends ago, we planned to head to the farmers market the very next weekend. So, with much anticipation, and our canvas bags in tow, we headed out bright and early this past Sunday. We were tickled pink to be able to walk there. At first, I thought it was just me, but my husband commented how excited he was too. We couldn’t wait to see what secret gems we would find – after all, it is fruit season!
We headed straight for The Little Fish Company and picked up some great looking fresh salmon, smoked salmon, and marinated poke. We knew we wanted some peaches and nectarines from Twin Peaks Orchards, and blackberries from Hooverville Orchards, and after “window shopping” a bit, we also wound up with heirlooms tomatoes, summer squash, English peas, and cherry plums (super sweet, and equally as tart!!)
With the salmon and peas, I knew exactly what was on the menu for dinner: Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Crispy Salmon. We picked up some supplemental ingredients from Whole Foods (fresh herbs, lemon, watercress, Greek Gods yogurt in place of crème fraiche, and fresh assorted pearl onions – why not continue the “fresh” trend?), and I headed straight for the kitchen.
After shelling the peas, I blanched them in boiling water for a minute or two, and then shocked them in an ice bath to stop them from cooking further. This is essentially the process that manufacturers follow before they freeze and package produce. I did the same with the pearl onions to help loosen their skins for removal. (FYI, go with frozen pearl onions. Fresh is not really worth the hassle here!)
As for the salmon, I saw Jaime Oliver grill salmon skin once, and have been eating it ever since. So I usually cook the salmon skin-side-down first until the skin is nice and crispy. Then I flip the salmon over to cook the other side, and remove the skin. Once the salmon is done, I put the salmon skin back on the pan to get it even crispier. Yum!
With those small substitutions, I pretty much followed the recipe in the link I provided earlier. Here’s my version of Tyler Florence’s Salt and Pepper Salmon, Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Pearl Onions, and Dill Crème Fraiche.
– Christine R.