Friday, July 31, 2015

Farmers Market Inspiration - Salad with Pickled Sour Cherries, Sungolds & Chevre + Salty Pickled Rye Croutons

I promised myself I'd never use the far too cutesy word "inspo," that seems super popular in the blogosphere. Despite the theme of today's food-based reflection, I am going to keep that promise. Still - inspiration (see, I can spare the time to write the entire word) is key to keeping your cooking and creating fresh. You can never anticipate where and when your creative juices might be revved up by food, but there are a few places where you can certainly up your odds.

Arugula, Red Leaf Lettuce, Vidalia Onion, Chevre, Pickled Tart Cherries 
+ Specialty Rye Bread toasted into croutons! YUM. Photo: NK

I get many recipe ideas from imitating dishes I enjoy at restaurants, but another favorite way I like to build new recipes is by beginning with one really sensational or unique ingredient and letting it jumpstart your imagination. Green Markets and Farmers Markets are a great place to begin because you can find a plethora of specialty foods and local produce all in place. That's where I came across a few of the elements that inspired the salads we'll show you today.

One nibble of "Salty Pickled Sour Rye" from Hamptons-based Carissa's Breads and I was reaching for my wallet. I just knew that this hearty Rye with a very unique, slightly piquant flavor would make the perfect croutons for my salad of Red Leaf Lettuce and Arugula. I couldn't resist grabbing some fresh Chevre from the adjacent Goodale Farms booth, reasoning that it would be lovely to sprinkle throughout.  And then there are those lucky times where food is gifted to you; these home-canned Sour Cherries that my best friend made me from her CSA delivery were just destined to be a part of all the excitement. Side note - she's so talented! Here's the how to:

Salad with Pickled Sour Cherries, Sungolds & Chevre + Salty Pickled Rye Croutons 

Serves 6

How To: 
Small Bunch Arugula + Medium Head of Red Leaf Lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
Small Basket Sungold (Yellow) Tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), cut in half or thirds (about 12 total)
Hearty Rye Bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes and lightly toasted
10 Pitted Pickled Sour Cherries, chopped (or Sour Cherries would work well too, even the dried type)
1/3 large Vidalia or Sweet Onion sliced thinly 

COMBINE all of the above in a large bowl. 
Before serving, DRESS with 2 Parts Olive Oil, 1 Part Red Wine Vinegar + teaspoon minced fresh Thyme leaves. (Optionally) 

FINISH with 2 Ounces Chilled Chevre (Goat Cheese) - Crumble onto salad just before serving and let sit for a few minutes to come to room temperature. 


NEXT - Tomatoes. Stars of summer. They sure did look stellar at the market. That's why I just had to spotlight them in the most simple way. Our favorite Tomato Carpaccio is really where it's at when you need a foolproof and ridiculously easy way to highlight everyone's summer favorite. 
Click HERE for the Tomato Carpaccio Recipe. 

Classic Tomato Carpaccio, Photo: NK 

Until your next great idea strikes, happy eating!

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