From Farmers’ Market to Your Table

Thursday, January 26, 2017 | 8:01 pm

You’re always sure to find plenty of fruits and vegetables at the farmer’s market, but these days, we can often find milk, yogurt, eggs, local beef and pork, cheese, bread, and even fish. This lets us branch out into dishes like pork shank braised with fennel and tomatoes, kale and goat cheese frittata cups made with farm-fresh eggs, and easy baked fish in foil packets. The idea is to use what you find at the market as the inspiration for your next meal — start there and you’ll be guaranteed a tasty, seasonal meal to top all others.

Cooking entirely from the farmers market is also a lesson in being flexible. Maybe the recipe calls for green peppers, but those aren’t quite in season yet. Can you leave them out? Could you substitute zucchini instead? If the bread vendor is sold out, maybe your sandwich recipe could become a salad. If the dairy truck isn’t there today, maybe your creamy soup becomes a broth.

Over the colder, winter months try making Potato, Squash, & Goat Cheese Gratin – an ultimate, vegetarian comfort dish you can make entirely from ingredients picked up at Farmer’s Market.

You will need 2 medium yellow summer squash, about 1/2 pound, 4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 4 ounces goat cheese, 1/4 cup whole milk, 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2- to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil. Use a mandoline or chef’s knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch thick or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Place a third of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them squash-potato-squash; just spread them evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another third of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other half of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final third of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns.

The Pasadena Farmers’ Market at Victory Park and is open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The market is located in the 2900 block of North Sierra Madre Boulevard.

 

 

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