Yesterday my friend Melissa and I braved the wet weather and headed over to the Nashville Farmers’ Market for the Market House Celebration-their spring kickoff featuring live music and demonstrations by local chefs. We were lucky enough to get there just in time to not only see Chef Jeremy Barlow of tayst in action, but to shop the market with him! He took us around to meet some of the farmers and gave us tips as we went on how to find the best quality produce. We sampled asparagus from Delvin Farms, maple syrup from another local farm and some luscious strawberries from Crossville. After Jeremy found some things he liked, we headed back inside the pavilion where he pulled together a fresh summer salad of lettuce, homemade ricotta, stawberries, and quinoa studded with bits of asparagus and onion, all dressed with a light vinaigrette. Feeling inspired, I picked up some corn, tomatoes, and asparagus, which turned into this side dish that I paired with grilled flank steak for dinner tonight.
Both recipes are from Hung, the winner of Food Network‘s Top Chef Season 3. In the past I’ve found the Top Chef recipes to be a bit “off”, so I usually end up tweaking. To this one I cut the amount of olive oil in half for both the salad and the steak marinade, used halved grape tomatoes instead of cutting up large ones, didn’t add the mint because I didn’t have any on hand and seasoned with a dash salt and pepper. Since this dish is actually best when it’s prepared a couple of hours ahead of time, it’s great when you’re cooking out with friends, because it leaves you free to relax and socialize instead of fussing in the kitchen!