"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Posts tagged Greenmarket

Have you ever been to the supermarket and not found a tomato? Probably not. We live in a seasonless era where produce exists year-round. You can buy peaches in the dead of winter and strawberries in the fall, but they never taste good. The same goes for tomatoes. These sci-fi versions with their lipstick red hue and taut skins are more decor than food.

I’ve become used to perennial produce, just like many, and I buy those out of season fruits (mostly tomatoes, because, I just really, really want one in my sandwich) only to eat them and feel deep disappointment.

It’s now late summer and the proper time to eat tomatoes, finally. There are so many beautiful, sun-ripened, juicy ones available you might have a hard time selecting among them, but they’re only around for a short while so eat as many as you can and store the memory of their proper flavor in your mind and belly until next season.

A favorite way we have of eating them is the most simple: salt and pepper, maybe some olive oil, good bread, and whatever cheese you may have, like mozzarella or goat cheese or sharp cheddar (try a cheddar, tomato, and mayonnaise sandiwich!).

We also love this take on a BLT with pork belly and herbs, and a vegetarian ensemble with green and yellow tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, cucumbers, and basil.


1 1/4 pounds pork belly
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons malt vinegar
1 tablespoon sharp mustard
1 cup water

– Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F.

– With a sharp knife, score (gently cut) the top of the pork belly in a cross-hatch pattern. Season with salt, pepper, and the dry mustard.

– Whisk the remaining ingredients together in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place the pork belly in a small baking dish and pour the sauce over it (it should come up at least halfway up the sides of the belly, otherwise, transfer to a smaller container). Cover with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake 1 hour until tender.

– Cool the belly completely (preferably refrigerated overnight) and slice into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cook the slices in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. If you like, you can simmer the cooking sauce and use it to glaze the pork.

– For the sandwich, spread toast with mayonnaise or mustard, then top with the pork belly and ripe, salted tomatoes. Add herbs like lemon thyme and basil and serve.

Finally, eggplant and tomatoes in a version of caponata. Caponata is a Sicilian classic, with myriad interpretations, but mostly it starts with eggplant cooked until tender. Other ingredients include the aforementioned tomatoes, onions, and celery, plus carrots, capers, olives, pine nuts, and herbs. The flavor is agrodolce (sweet-sour) and all of these ingredients combine to hit your palate in multiple locations at once.

This edition is a bit loose, having been made quickly from what was on hand. The dish, as you can see in the photo, is meant to look like a thick, fruit-heavy compote. Our caponata starts with eggplant and includes bits and pieces of fresh tomatoes. It’s actually a great way to rescue leftover bits of tomatoes you might have from having made a sandwich or a salad. You can use anchovies, or sardines as this recipe does—don’t worry, they won’t be “fishy” but will impart a heady dose of umami.


Olive oil
2 black-skinned eggplant (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
6 ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed olives (chopping optional)
1/3 cup capers, rinsed and drained
2 sardines packed in oil
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
2 rosemary sprigs
Lemon juice
Red wine vinegar
– Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the eggplant and onion and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant begins to soften and the onion is translucent, about 20 minutes. It’s ok if the eggplant turns a bit brown, but do lower the heat if any excess charring begins to happen.

– Add the garlic and a pinch of Aleppo pepper and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and any juices and continue cooking, stirring, until the mixture is becoming homogenous and thick. Stir in the olives, capers, sardines, raisins, and rosemary and cook for 10 minutes longer.

– Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and vinegar.

– Cool to room temperature and serve as an appetizer with garlic toast or alongside grilled fish or chicken.

Farmers’ markets pop up under white tents around the city throughout the spring, summer, and fall, and they are one of our favorite places to shop. Sure, brick and-mortar markets are necessary and the Cookin’ half of us visits two to three a day, but crowded, neon-illuminated aisles slowly navigated by angry old ladies with rickety carts and kids on Razors will grate on anyone’s nerves. People often suggest that we order food for photo shoots, but, to me (Maria) grocery shopping is a bit like foreplay, and I like to spend time getting to know what I’m buying; if it’s produce, I’m definitely getting to second base with it. Sure, you can get fruits and vegetables delivered to your home, but it is endlessly more satisfying to see, smell, and touch each slender-necked zucchini, each tangle patterned cantaloupe. More pleasurable still is spending a sun-drenched morning at the greenmarket leisurely going through these motions.

Last Saturday, Tara and I went to the Union Square Greenmarket, arriving before the crowds made it difficult to navigate. Piles of fuchsia radishes with
roots curled like small rodents’, wooden crates’ edges breached by gooseneck gourds, wildflowers abuzz with dizzy bees, emerald leafy greens bunched into
edible bouquets, dark crusty loaves of bread; the feast begins even before you’ve stuffed your tote bag.

Our greenmarket jaunt was all about going there without a shopping list (which is completely foreign to me as I usually type them up by supermarket section) and
picking up whatever seemed most appealing. Do the same; you’ll be surprised at how little fresh ingredients need to shine.
Below are a few recipes we pulled together for brunch later that morning; hopefully they’ll inspire you to shop outside this weekend.

Makes 4 sandwiches
The key to the success of these sandwiches is good ingredients. We like a Wonder Bread and American cheese version just like the next guy, but gussy the old standard with local cheese and artisan bread. Our choices are in the recipe, but feel free to use your own selections.
Zucchini blossoms are that vegetable’s  bold and beautiful décor – luckily, they’re edible, too.

8 slices peasant bread, cut ¾-inch thick
6 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces Brigid’s Abbey cheese, thinly sliced (See Headnote)
16 zucchini blossoms
Salt and pepper

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

Brush each slice of bread on both sides with 4 tablespoons oil. Heat large skillet over medium heat and grill bread in two batches until lightly toasted on both sides, about 4 minutes.  Transfer bread to large baking sheet.

Distribute cheese evenly among bread slices and place in oven. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, 6 to 8 minutes.  Transfer tray to cooling rack.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in now empty skillet until shimmering. Add zucchini blossoms and sautée just until wilted, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide zucchini blossoms among 4 bread slices. Top with remaining bread slices, cheese-side down. Serve.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
Anchovies provide this salad dressing with an assertive backbone. If you’re not a fan, trust me, they melt right in and get a good kick in the pants with the addition of caramelized lemon zest and bright, tart lemon juice.
Kale salads seem to be very in vogue at the moment, but the addition of ripe summer peaches is a surprise we bet you haven’t yet encountered.

Recipe notes: Microwaving the garlic and lemon zest in oil will mellow out the garlic and caramelize the lemon zest. As an alternative, heat the oil, garlic, and zest in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
– This salad can be prepared and dressed one day in advance; since kale is such a hearty green, it won’t wilt. Add the peaches right before serving.

1 large bunch Tuscan kale, ribs removed and discarded
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon zest and 3 tablespoons juice from 2 lemons
8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
2 ripe but firm peaches, cut into ½-inch thick wedges

Cut kale leaves into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons; you should have 6 cups.
Combine oil, garlic, and lemon zest in small bowl and microwave for 1 minute (See Notes).

Whisk anchovies, mustard, and lemon juice in salad bowl. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in oil mixture. Add kale and toss to evenly coat with dressing. Add peaches and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Serves 4

Recipe notes: Large plums work in this recipe as well, however we picked up multi-colored petite versions at the greenmarket.
To remove the seeds, cut the plums in half, then core out the seeds with a paring knife. Don’t worry if they become a bit mangled in the process as they’ll break down during cooking.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 pints small plums, pitted, seeds discarded (See Notes)
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup champagne or Riesling
2 cups mascarpone or plain Greek yogurt

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to foam. Stir in brown sugar and cook until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir  in plums and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Stir in champagne or Riesling, and continue cook until syrupy consistency is reached again, about 5 minutes longer. Serve at room temperature with mascarpone or Greek yogurt and season with pepper.

Though most of the shopping we did at the greenmarket was intended to be cooked later that morning, we experienced shoppers’ high and bought a few extra things because they looked and smelled so delightful.

These Thumbelina-sized nectarines were fuzzy and sweet, needing nothing but a rinse under cold water to make them ready to eat. Naturally, we had to capture their perfect ombré shades of orange and deep pink on film.

Fairy tale eggplant…We are helpless before perfectly patterned produce that flaunts its rich garnet hues. And that name? Irresistible.

Korean melons, yellow and cotton candy-fragrant; look for these sunny yellow, oblong alternatives to honeydews and cantaloupe

OK fine. Organic eggs from blissful chickens are fantastic, but in all honestly, we bought these because we loved the color of the carton.


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