“Something’s wrong with the tomatoes” B told me, standing over my epic bounty from the farmer’s market that morning. What? They had been beautiful that morning, luscious and ripe, like they were just waiting to explode juicy, summer tomato-ey goodness everywhere. “They’re like greenish,” he explained. I drew in a deep sigh of relief and explained to the Indiana boy that not every tomato is perfectly shaped and perfectly red, that in fact, these were my perfect tomatoes.
The next day, after a long day of oystering, I prepared to make an amazing salad out of the killing I’d come away from the market with. There was a little problem. After a long day of oystering, I couldn’t stop eating oysters. I’d had a good third of my daily limit while still standing with shucking knife in one hand and shell in the other. I had already pan-fried another third. I had to cut myself off, distract from the endless oyster eating. I had to make a salad that I could use to celebrate both bounty of the farmer’s market and my oysterific excitement.
As the salad came together, each layer of color I added to it made for another layer of excitement. The beginnings, the cheese, the farro, the tomatoes, the sea beans came from the farmers market. Once I had the basic ingredients, I hunted for herbs from my garden to top it–purple shiso loaning more vibrant color, parsley and basil, in tiny amounts adding their say in bright flavors. Finally it needed a dressing. I started with a little Korean red pepper flake (good for this sort of use, as it has no seeds, just stunningly red flakes), but quickly realized it wasn’t the right ingredient–it left its mark of tiny crimson freckles, but not nearly enough of it natural flavor. I turned to my secret weapon, a wonderful pepperoncini olive oil my boss had brought me from Italy. The deep, slightly acidic tasting spice provided the perfect counterpoint to the sweet tomatoes, the salty sea beans and the creamy mozzarella.
So while I might not have been celebrating much–some tasty oysters and beautiful vegetables, the colors and flavors in the salad made it worth celebrating in and of itself, thus, a celebratory salad.
Filed under: salad |