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The summer season of Salem NH Farmers Market opened on Sunday, June 22, coinciding with the first official weekend of summer, naturally. With more than 20 vendors, there was something for everyone and every appetite. Live music by Cow Hampshire Folk made you want to dust off your boots and start tapping your feet and the activity table kept younger visitors busy with planting carrot seeds. Farmers’ offerings included an array of greens, juicy tomatoes, asparagus, crunchy sugar snap peas, potatoes, sweet strawberries, honey, raw milks, yogurt, and cheeses galore. New vendors included goat’s milk and chevre, oyster mushrooms, and whoopie pies. (Mine didn’t make it home to share with the family…)

We served shoppers strawberry-infused lemonade. Make your favorite batch of lemonade in a large glass serving container and simply add fresh, hulled strawberries. The gradation of color from red to yellow gives the feeling of a gorgeous summer sunrise. Hint: freeze the strawberries first to act as ice cubes.

Grilling on summer weekends is mandatory. There’s something about seeing perfect grill marks or char just makes my taste buds start dancing. I love just about anything grilled. My new grilled crushes include: romaine, asparagus and spring onions.

This week I decided to try grilled farmers market wedge salad with homemade buttermilk blue cheese dressing. If you’re not a fan of super smelly cheese, try Brookford Farm’s version of blue cheese; you’ll be a convert. I use it for stuffed burgers, too. Pick up grass-fed ground beef (and bacon) from the Market and grill up a “wedge burger!” The thick dressing is a great substitute for ketchup. I’ve been caught with a spoon in the jar.

Grilled romaine is trending big time. Any hearty green will work too – try savoy cabbage, bok choy, etc. Grilling boosts the flavor. Be sure to brush a light amount of olive oil – you want to keep the crunchy texture; too much oil will soften the leaves.

Another new crush is grilled white or red spring onions, which are onions that have not fully matured. They’ve have been plentiful at the Market. They’re both savory and sweet at the same time, and both the bulb and the stalks are edible. Grilling intensifies the sweetness of their flavor profile. I chop some of the greens to use as garnish (scallions) but leave a few inches intact for easy grilling. While I added these to the wedge salad, they’re great on their own.

Grilled asparagus spears aren’t novel, but wrap them in bacon, prosciutto or speck first, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and you’ve got a smoky, salty treat that your hubby’s golf buddies will beg you to make for their next tee time. The fresh asparagus bunch from the Market didn’t last long enough for Monday’s outing.

Play with your food. Mix up ingredients. Try something new. Talk to the farmers and vendors. Stop by the information booth to say hello. We’d love to see you.

Buy local. Eat local. Visit the Salem NH Farmers Market on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. hosted at Lake Street Garden Center. Debit, credit and EBT accepted. Visit the market online at SalemNHFarmersMarket.org and like us on Facebook.

Grilled Market Summer Wedge Salad with Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing

grilled farmers market summer wedge saladWhat you need:

Dressing:

  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 c crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 c mascarpone cheese (sub with chevre, quark, sour cream or crème fraiche)
  • 1/4 c yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Salad:

  • 8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 4 cooked ears of corn
  • 2 romaine lettuce, cut in half
  • 1 pt cherry tomatoes (red, yellow)
  • 1 bunch spring (green) onion
  • EVOO
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

What you do:

  • In med bowl add buttermilk, blue cheese and EVOO.
  • Mash together with fork to break up the cheese.
  • Add lemon juice.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Trim greens of spring onions, leaving at least 3 inches of green, reserving rest for future use.
  • Place tomatoes on skewers for easy grilling.
  • Brush corn, tomatoes and spring onion with EVOO.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill until charring begins, rotating to get some char on all sides.
  • Lightly brush romaine with EVOO, season with salt and pepper.
  • Place cut side down and grill for about 3 min or until leaves begin to char.
  • Flip and repeat.
  • Remove vegetables from grill to assemble.
  • Cut kernels from cob.
  • Slice spring onion into thin slices.
  • Place lettuce on place, grilled side up.
  • Top with corn, onion, tomatoes and bacon.
  • Drizzle with blue cheese dressing.

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