Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Peppergrass, Sorrel and More Weekend Cooking

"Can you make pancakes for breakfast before going to the farmers' market?" asked J. as soon as I walked downstairs Saturday morning. He was up early. He knew it was the weekend and that a trip to the farmers' market was the first thing in order. Just like every other Saturday morning."Can I help?"

Our bellies full with chestnut and sauteed apple pancakes, my mom and I headed down to the farmers' market. It is always so nice to have alone time with her.

"Let's go see what Jody has this week" I told mom. "The padron peppers might be ready".

On the way there, we picked up eggs and my new wild strawberry plant, which I hope starts giving fruit soon (keeping fingers crossed).

We looked through Jody's stand. So many varieties of greens that is always hard to choose. The padron peppers weren't ready, but we spotted greens I have never seen before.

"Taste this". Peppery and lemony cress. "It's peppergrass" Jody told us. It was fresh and bright, similar to watercress, but different. We put that in our baskets as well as some sorrel, chervil, tender Bibb lettuce, and some heirloom carrots. "it will be great in a salad".

As we were walking back to our car, I reminded my mom of how my paternal grandmother, amama Dolores, never ate lettuce. Despite growing lots of greens in her own garden, she always said that lettuce was for the chickens. We laughed. We were definitely going to eat our greens.

At home we roasted potatoes and baby beets. Also made pesto with some of the peppergrass and sorrel, and slowly poached salmon with herbs in olive oil. It was a delicious salad indeed.

We ate it with a creamy tomato soup scented with sorrel, similar to this one.

For dessert we had dark chocolate and quinoa shortbread cookies. Soft and intense. I dipped them in some hemp milk in the middle of the afternoon. It hit the spot.

Salmon, Roasted Potato and Beet Salad with Peppergrass and Sorrel Pesto

Peppergrass and Sorrel Pesto

1 clove garlic
2 Tbs pine nuts
1 cup peppergrass
1/4 cup sorrel
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/3 cup olive oil

In the food processor, finely chop the garlic and pine nuts. Add the peppergrass, sorrel, and salt. Pulse until it turns into a fine paste. Add the grated parmesan and pulse twice to incorporate. Add the olive oil while machine running until pesto turns into a smooth paste. Reserve.

6 baby beets
6 baby golden potatoes, peeled and cut in half
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Toss all ingredients in a baking pan and roast at 425F for about 20-25 minutes.

2 (6 ounce) pieces of salmon
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh herbs (thyme, sorrel, parsley, etc)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup olive oil

Season salmon with salt on both sides. Tide the herbs around the salmon with butcher's twine. Over low heat, heat the olive oil in a shallow pan that will hold both pieces of salmon. Add the garlic. When it starts to form small bubbles around the garlic. Add the salmon and gently cook it for 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness. I half way cover the pot with a lid.

To assemble the salad, toss the roasted beets and potatoes with some of the pesto. Arrange peppergrass and sorrel leaves on a platter, season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1 Tbs lemon juice. Top with flaked pieces of salmon, beets and potatoes.

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