Editor’s Note: With just two more Saturdays left to enjoy the Summer 2014 edition of the Shreveport Farmers’ Market, we asked home cook and farmers’ market enthusiast Ashlie Daigle to share her take on the market.
The Shreveport Farmer’s Market is a regional Shangri-La for the home chef. For self-proclaimed “foodies” like me, there is no better place to be on a Saturday morning.
I would typically suggest grocery shopping with list in hand – lest you wander out of the store, glassy-eyed with no idea why you have both frozen waffles and fresh dill – but this market requires a different approach. Upon arrival, start with the East Pavilion and walk the rows, sizing up what’s available. After giving the East Pavilion a thorough once-over, head across to the West Pavilion to grab something to eat from the food vendors. Here you’ll find one of Shreveport’s best gastronomical secrets: Ki’ Mexico. Their authentic Mexican tacos are a must eat, no matter how long the line.
On my calendar: a special occasion, the celebration of an anniversary. It’s the perfect opportunity to make an easy and stress-free vegetarian feast for two. In this case, I ended up preparing sautéed summer salad with grilled corn and mustard greens. And I’ll tell you how I did it.
Corn and greens were a must on the menu. The mustard greens looked great and, though I hadn’t cooked them before, a green is a green so I snagged them and looked to find a few things to accompany them. My final jaunt around the East Pavilion yielded leeks, eggplant, sweet peppers and tomatoes.
When it comes to cooking fresh, local vegetables, less is definitely more. Start out by firing up the grill. Next, get those greens cooking, as they will take the longest. Rinse and rough chop your greens, then add them to a pot of boiling water flavored with two teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon vegetarian paste, red pepper flakes, and one half of a teaspoon of lemon juice. Reduce heat and let the greens simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, the corn goes on the grill, husk and all. After about 20 minutes it is ready for shucking, butter, and a little Tony Chachere’s seasoning, which is good on everything. The eggplant was thrown on the grill as well, while I tried to figure out what to do with it. Grilling seemed like a good place to start.
Wanting something light and fresh to contrast the greens, I chopped the sweet peppers and tomatoes and added red bell pepper vinegar and olive oil to let those flavors marry. I was going to add the leeks raw, but they had a little more bite than I was looking for, so I sautéed them in olive oil until they were little jewels of flavor, just shy of caramelized. The salad was still missing something. I had found what to do with my grilled eggplant; into the salad it went.
About thirty minutes is all it took to get a dinner on the table that was delicious, healthy and of local. Head down to the Shreveport Farmer’s Market to see what inspiration will strike. You will not be disappointed.
The Shreveport Farmers’ Market is held in Festival Plaza, located at 101 Crockett Street in downtown Shreveport. The Summer 2014 market takes place, 7 a.m.-12 p.m., each Saturday through Aug. 30. The Fall 2014 market will be held on Saturdays, Oct. 25-Nov. 22.