Thanks to Washington’s amazingly diverse agricultural community, we are blessed with loads of farmers markets. Shopping for local products means you get the best of the best at the peak of its season!
They are also a great place to pick up produce you might not have tried before like nettles (great for flavorful soup) or freshly picked wild morel mushrooms to sauté serve alongside a sizzling steak, or make a rich sauce to top halibut!
Of course, downtown’s famous Pike Place Market is always a fun trip, but hey — new farmers markets are popping up all the time. Check out www.SeattleFarmersMarkets.org to see what’s new in the city!
Before you venture out, here are a few helpful tips:
-Wear comfortable shoes
-Have a couple of large reusable grocery bags with you (for all your great finds!)
-Bring cash (it’ll make the experience quicker and easier)
-My biggest tip is to carry a small notebook to record cooking notes and varietal info from the growers
So get out there and support local farmers markets! Don’t forget to leave a note on this blog with some of your favorite market finds. I would love to hear all about them! –Kathy
Pan-Roasted Halibut with Morel Mushroom Cream
The morel, one of the richest-tasting wild mushrooms, is a spring delight after long NW winters. Just a few morels will do you in a recipe, for their flavor is intense. Serve with sautéed fresh pea vines.
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 cup coarse chopped fresh morel mushrooms (about 3 ounces), or 1/2 ounce dried morels, soaked in the white wine and then chopped
3 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of white pepper
4 skinless halibut fillet portions (6 to 8 ounces each)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh chives for garnishing
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the shallot, garlic, and mushrooms, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until the shallot is translucent and mushrooms are tender. Add the brandy and wine and cook to reduce for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and slowly simmer, stirring often, for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced to about 1 – 1 1/4 cups and lightly thickened. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and white pepper. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth but with some texture still, about 30 seconds; be careful, because the sauce is very hot. Set aside and keep warm.
To cook the fish, preheat an oven to 450°F. Season the halibut with salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the fillets until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the fish until just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on thickness of the fillets.
To serve, place the fillets on warm plates spoon the sauce over them. Garnish with chives.
Chef’s Note: Prized halibut cheeks would be a tasty alternative when available. They range in size from 3 ounces to up to 1 pound each, depending on the size of the fish.
Recipe adapted from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.