Yesterday I went to the Columbia City Farmers Market in search of a chicken, and I came home with the chicken, some tomatoes, skinny green beans (you really can’t say *haricots verts* without sounding like a dick, can you?), squash blossoms, and tomatillos. Clearly I’m a tomatillo addict. Put me in front of a box of them, especially purple ones with snug husks, and I’ll buy them even if I already have a bunch at home. But this story isn’t about tomatillos. It’s about beans.
I also spent a little time showing farmers market pioneer Nina Planck (former director of the NYC Greenmarkets) around. Progress was admirably slow. She would stop at a stand (admiring, say, the lettuces at Tolt River Farm) and indicate her approval. This happened at nearly every stand. I’ve seen it before. You bring someone someone from another part of the country and get them up close and personal with Northwest produce, and they won’t want to go home. I say this like Nina Planck and I are buddies, but this was the first time we’d met, and I liked her enough that I will feel mildly guilty about posting critical (along with favorable) things about her book tomorrow.
Tonight, I made what I think constitutes a classic bistro salad. I blanched the skinny beans in heavily salted water and shocked them in ice water. I set them aside while I made the dressing. I diced some Nueske’s and crisped it up in a pan. Added some olive oil because there wasn’t quite enough fat. I minced shallots and toasted sliced almonds in the fat, then added a dash of cider vinegar to make it a vinaigrette. (Why cider vinegar? I thought it might help it go better with the enchiladas. It didn’t, really, but it was still good.) Dried the beans, tossed them with the warm dressing and a little pepper, and we were all set. Iris ate the almonds and bacon and did not condescend to try a green bean. Even Gloria of Bread and Jam for Frances fame likes to practice with a string bean when she can.
The salad was great, but I wondered how to get the dressing to integrate with the beans a little better. I think I just found the answer. I remembered having a similar salad at Pike Place Market’s CafÃ© Campagne, which was topped with lovely slices of grilled bacon. According to the menu, it is:
*Haricots verts marinated with lemon vinaigrette and shallots, topped with grilled bacon*
Marinated, hmm. I guess next week I’ll be buying more–sorry to be a dick about it–*haricots verts*.
Wow. Sounds like a fun trip to the market. I was at the Santa Monica farmers market yesterday with some blogging friends, and I was going insane it was so big… plus, it was fun to be with people who get as excited (and snap as many photos) as I do.
I’m bumbed that I wasn’t back in town in time to see the Nina Planck talk… I am just finishing up her book, and quite enjoyed it, although I had also just finished the Pollan book, so it was up against some stiff competition… I might have liked it more if I had read it first, although it’s tough to say. Anyway, looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it…
L, I can’t wait to see your photos from Santa Monica. I’ll try to post about the book tomorrow.
So, I went to see where my brother Chris lives in Chicago, and it is two blocks from a farmer’s, above a bookstore, across the street from a cooking store with frequent classes, catty-corner to a German bakery, and a few doors down from an excellent, authentic, crazy-cheap Mexican restaurant.
Either Chris and I have more in common than I realized, or this location is tragically wasted.