I went to the Farmer's market on Saturday, having no idea what I would be cooking for last night's dinner for 6 friends. I wanted the dinner to be special, but not too labor intensive--something I could prepare in a couple of hours. It was so much fun strolling through the market, building the dinner as I walked from stand to stand. By the end of my half hour shopping excursion, the meal was set.
At Lani's Farm, I picked up some gorgeous French radishes, sweet asparagus, cucumber and wild arugula. Then I spotted some big, brown eggs as I was checking out, and there was my first course: Asparagus Salad with Radish, Cucumbers and Arugula, topped with an Olive Oil Poached Egg and tossed with a Tarragon Vinaigrette. I also picked up a bunch of zucchini flowers which I decided I would stuff and fry to add to the salad. I didn't know what I would be filling them with just yet, but I knew the answer would soon present itself!
I wanted to do a pasta course but I didn't have time to make fresh pasta. So I decided I would make a simple, very creamy risotto, with ramps and little coins of sauteed asparagus.
For the third course, I knew one of my guests loved lamb. So I headed straight for 3 Corner Field Farm, where they have the best lamb in the whole world. There were so many cuts to choose from, but I eventually settled on a bone in lamb tenderloin. They were also selling fresh sheep's milk ricotta cheese which I figured would be perfect to stuff my zucchini flowers with.
I swung by another stand and picked up some German butterball potatoes, long graceful chives and then some very hearty spinach from Cherry Lane farm. Seared Lamb Tenderloin with Dijon Mustard and Balsamic Glaze with Paprika and Garlic Roasted Potatoes and Wilted Spinach.
This summer, try creating a dinner party like this by letting the farmer's market be your guide. It's a fun challenge and an exciting way to cook. You will impress yourself, and you will really impress your guests!