This Saturday, I helped Chef Sam Baker prepare fresh meals using local ingredients at the South of the James Farmers’ Market. The Chef shows up each week with limited equipment and some very basic pantry ingredients (salt, pepper, oil, spices) and then shops the market to see what is fresh. When he is finished gathering his ingredients, he whips up simple, creative dishes in front of the crowd to show market shoppers how to use all that the region has to offer in their own home kitchens. He also offers really useful tips along the way, like how to tell how done your protein is without slicing into it, and what homemade blend of oils he prefers for stove top cooking.
I plan to do a weekly recap here to show you what’s cooking this week at the market. You can catch up on all of my SOJ Chef Demo posts by following the Market Chef link on the top navigation bar or by clicking here. Feel free to stop by and say hi the next time you are at the SOJ Market. We are located at the east (back) end of the market, on the interior row, next to Alfredo’s honey and across from Walnut Hill Produce and Pleitez Produce. If you don’t see us right away, you’ll surely smell us (and I mean that in a good way). Shoppers usually flock to the table when the Herbs de Provence or the garlic scapes hit the pan.
This week was all about seafood and leafy greens. Chef Sam demonstrated two different meals on Saturday and both featured fresh caught fish from Barham Seafood. The first dish on the menu this week was pan seared yellowfin tuna, crusted in Herbs de Provence and fresh tarragon. The tuna was served over wilted spinach and topped with a garnish of sautéed shredded collard greens and onions. The Chef also demonstrated a side dish of sautéed asparagus that he blanched before tossing in the pan.
The second meal was sesame seared swordfish (three cheers for alliteration!). The swordfish was coated in black and white sesame seeds with a touch of wasabi and pan seared. The Chef also prepared pan roasted portabellas with dill, and a salad of spring greens with strawberries and goat’s milk blue cheese.
Thanks to Barham Seafood, Frog Bottom Farm, Walnut Hill, Victory Farms, Sullivan’s Pond Farm, Haas Shrooms, and all of the other featured market vendors for producing this week’s fresh and tasty ingredients.