Look, we’re the ones who hit up the farmer’s market in the pouring rain. In February. There’s just something about the outdoor stalls and abundance of produce that brings us to life.
Shopping at the farmer’s market every week gives us those romantic, this is real life vibes we’re looking for between homogenized shopping malls and overly-processed supermarket shelves. We’re into it. And that passion goes over the top come the heat of summer!
In August, farmer’s markets come to life on a whole other level, bursting with giant heirloom tomatoes and some of the best eats that summer has to offer. Think grilled corn, neon greens, and peaches to die for.
We asked Chef Yousef of the Fairmont’s FIG restaurant (right up the street from our favorite Wednesday market) to let us know what he’s scooping up right now – and to share a recipe that makes the most of it all!
Note his hit-list and head to your local market this week – you won’t be disappointed. Then pick up some of the year’s best stone fruits and make this salad to let ’em shine…
5 Reasons To Hit The Farmer’s Market Right Now
Baby sweet pepper
Grab baby sweet peppers, add to an eggplant ratatouille and use as an accompaniment to grilled lamb.
Throw peaches, nectarines and olala berries into an almond tart.
Whip up a purslane and arugula salad with red onion, lemon, California EVOO and Pecorino.
Add heirloom tomatoes and baby shallots on top of a pizza with kalamata olives, pickled red onion and French feta.
Try my stone fruit salad with marinated halloumi cheese, watercress and toasted pine nuts.
Summer stone fruit salad with Grilled Halloumi
This salad combines salty, sweet, bitter and sour in a really refreshing way. Find whichever stone fruit is freshest and use that! Halloumi is a great cheese for this dish because of its texture and its ability to take on the flavor of the grill. You’ll see grilled fruit salads in recipes everywhere, but I don’t like the texture of the fruit afterwards since it’s not crisp and refreshing. By grilling the cheese, we can achieve that flavor and preserve the best part of using the stone fruit. There is no dressing for this salad, so you’ll have to invest in really good balsamic vinegar!
8 cups of fruit (nectarines, white peaches, yellow peaches, apricots and pitted cherries)
2 cups loosely packed watercress, large stems removed (or arugula)
1 block of halloumi cheese (about 8 oz), sliced into large planks for grilling
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
coarse sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
aged balsamic vinegar
California extra-virgin olive oil
Cut fruit in healthy chunks of different sizes; pit the cherries and use the halves. Place prepared fruit in a mixing bowl and chill until cheese is ready.
Brush halloumi cheese with olive oil and season with cracked black pepper. Grill using a grill pan over medium heat (feel free to use a grill outside if you have one handy – you’re just looking for marks on the cheese).
Let the cheese come back to room temperature and dice in bite-size pieces.
Add the cheese to the mixing bowl with the fruit.
Add the watercress or arugula.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the bowl.
Season with some cracked pepper.
Toss the salad to incorporate everything (you’ll want to do this right before you’re ready to serve. You can keep in the fridge un-tossed until ready).
Place in a serving bowl and finish with a few dashes of the aged balsamic vinegar. Add as much or as little to this as you like, depending on the sweetness or tartness of the fruit.
Garnish with the toasted pine nuts and some coarse sea salt to taste (keep in mind that the cheese is relatively salty).