Greenmarket Saturdays are a ritual in our house. Every week, rain or shine, Brad, Francine and I always make our way to Grand Army Plaza to load up on some seasonal goodness. So when I read the NY Locavore challenge email on Saturday morning, suggesting a visit to a local greenmarket or farm stand, I was already on my way.
If you’re wanting to shop and cook with local produce from your neighborhood greenmarket, it’s often best to forgo your shopping list and let go of your expectations. I typically buy what looks good (remember, foods that grow together go together) and enjoy a good recipe hunt when I return. But every now and then I will make a point of noting a recipe that seems seasonally appropriate before I head out so I can keep an eye out for those ingredients.
This past weekend that recipe was Yotam Ottolenghi’s Shakshuka – a traditional North African dish that is a perfect way to enjoy the local tomatoes and peppers that are in abundance at this time of year, not to mention some delicious eggs, straight from the farm.
A while back my friend Allan sent me a link to Yotam Ottolenghi’s New Vegetarian column for the Guardian. Drawing on his Middle Eastern and Medditeranean influences, this London chef makes some mean vegetarian dishes (he also confirms my belief that a dollup of yogurt goes on just about anything). I’ve had a copy of his book, Plenty
Saturday afternoon I broke out the cookbook and Brad and I finally enjoyed the sweet, spicy Shashuka for a post-market brunch. Served with some toasty, market-fresh bread for scooping and sopping, it was everything I dreamed it would be. Here’s the link to the Shakshuka recipe, where you can also watch a video of Ottolenghi cooking the dish.
A few notes from my kitchen: The recipe serves four big appetites, very generously. I prepared the pepper mixture and transferred half to a smaller pan, where I made nests for 4 eggs. The other half kept well in the refrigerator to be reheated and repeated for another meal later in the weekend. Instead of letting the eggs poach in a covered pan, I transfered my oven-proof skillet to a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes until the eggs were “wobbly” set.