My trip to the Farmer’s Market this week made me SEE RED! It really was completely unintentional. I didn’t walk around and look for RED FOOD. I didn’t scorn the beautiful yellow plums or the plump purple concord grapes. I just found myself subliminally attracted to the variety of beautiful vermillion selections that popped out everywhere I looked.
It started when I spotted the lovely red butter lettuce SKYPHOS. We have grown this lettuce on the farm for many seasons, and it has been a favorite of the chefs consistently. It has a very mild flavor, but also it has some “tooth”. It holds up to the bite and doesn’t collapse under the dressing. It is better than ANY RED LEAF LETTUCE you will ever find at the grocery. I promise.
This head of lettuce invited me to mentally celebrate the salad I was going to make as I made my way from farmer to farmer at the market. I took note of a small, heirloom watermelon and had to ask – what type of melon is this? “A pink heirloom variety” was the answer, and as quick as you can say seed spitting contest, it became a part of the salad in my head.
Is this a summer salad or a winter salad? It’s and END OF SUMMER salad, and so there aren’t any rules that say you cannot mix beets and watermelon. After all, they are both in season, as crazy as that sounds!
The beets were steamed to soften and then a rough uneven cut made perfect salad toppings of this root specimen seasonal crossover.
Shaved so thinly you can see through the porous cells of the red onion, a very nice flavor boost is provided by this addition to the salad. The familiarity and subtle bite of sweet red onion is a great compliment to the sweetness of the berries and the earthiness of the steamed red beets.
The “dressing” for my RED SALAD is a simple drizzle of fresh squeezed blood orange juice and walnut oil (or olive oil is great, too). I used some chopped shallot and a bit of dijon mustard to add some complexity to it, and seasoned with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.
Our Scarlet Salad from the Farmer’s Market this week was a real celebration of simplicity and seasonal satisfaction. It was the perfect compliment to our grilled fresh fish – Wahoo Filets from the fish monger. A perfect Saturday evening meal.