Inspiration: Bay Area Farmers Market
by Loree Dowse | April 2016
Loree’s note: I am excited to introduce my first chef contributor this week, Allie Phelps. Allie is a San Francisco- and Napa-based chef who teaches cooking classes and caters special events. A frequent visitor to Bay Area farmers markets, Allie is completely dialed in to all things seasonal, fresh and new. For this post, I asked her to come up with some unique ways to dress up the salad plate for spring. I hope you’re inspired!
Springtime in the Bay Area is one of my absolute favorite times to shop our local farmers markets. They are packed with so many fresh and colorful offerings, I am often overwhelmed with inspiration for creating tasty and beautiful dishes. I am a chef who fully believes that people eat with their eyes first, and that is what drives me to create my dishes.
The change in seasons brings so much delicate and colorful produce. Creating salads is my favorite way to represent and highlight some of the season’s brightest goods.
Here is a salad I put together based on what I found at the Ferry Building Farmers Market in San Fransicso. Carrots are at their peak right now, and I love shaving them raw to create ribbons for salads. Whole baby Russian kale added a bit of structure to the salad, as they are sturdy but also tender when young. I added whole peppermint leaves, to add a little zing. Kumquats are one of my favorite additions, as you can eat them whole and cut them into wheels, removing any small seeds they may carry. I pulled the tops off flowering fennel, and added those sprigs as well.
Finally, I was most excited to include fresh Calendula and Bachelors Button to the salad, which added a playful and unique touch to the salad. As Meyer lemons are still available at the market, I tossed the salad with some good quality olive oil, Meyer Lemon juice and kosher salt, and voila! A beautiful springtime salad was ready to share with friends.