When it comes to food, the conversation is often about health or pleasure, but not both. There are unpalatable pond-colored juices and cardboard-textured bars for health, oversized candy-topped sundaes and mounds of gravy-drenched poutine for pleasure. But when you cook with beautiful, fresh ingredients both enjoyment and good nutrition are inevitable. With great produce, all you have to do is add a little seasoning and stay out of its way (i.e. no heavy sauces or cooking-to-death).
That's where Marissa Lippert, registered dietician and owner of Nourish Kitchen + Table, and I see eye to eye. We met at the farmers market on a June morning, with no more plan than to shop and cook together, and share our ideas about good eating. We picked out the fruits and vegetables that excited us––butter lettuce, breakfast radishes, chive blossoms, ripe strawberries––and went back to Nourish to make a summer brunch. Here are some photos, and suggestions for creating your own meal rich in nutrition and deliciousness.
Marissa and I were both taken with these gorgeous heads of lettuce! Holding them at the market, we were inspired to make a salad with the whole head. We rinsed the head of lettuce, gently patted the leaves dry, then cut out the core and carefully placed the whole head in a bowl. We dressed the leaves with a sprinkling of vinaigrette, rubbed in by hand, then scattered chive blossoms, chamomile flowers and chopped chives over the whole thing.
Wild plants often contain higher concentrations of micronutrients than cultivated greens like spinach or kale, so we were excited to try cooking lambs quarters. You likely passed a patch of these edible weeds in an empty lot or yanked some from your garden just this morning. While roadside weeds aren't necessarily safe to eat (lead contamination), farmers markets have started selling them. Marrissa sauteed some up with lots of green garlic and spring onions, and served them with a poached egg and toast.
One of the easiest and most refreshing drinks you can make is white or rosé wine + fruit + fresh herbs + seltzer. You know strawberries are good when you can smell them as you approach the farm stand; we macerated a pint with a heaping spoonful of sugar and a few shiso leaves, and let that sit until the strawberry juice made it's own syrup. We poured wine over the macerated berries then topped each glass with seltzer and more shiso.
We couldn’t resist grabbing a bunch of radishes to snack on with good butter. I don't have much to say about this combination other than that it's perfect!
We would love to hear about your nutritious and delicious market meals in the comments!
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