Springtime at the farmers’ market

Have you tried purple carrots or watermelon radishes?

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Spring is a spectacular time of year at your local farmers’ market. The array is colorful, and there are a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables to get creative with.

You will find a wonderful selection of baby lettuces that are delicious with just a spritz of lemon juice and tomatoes that taste the way you remember them tasting years ago. Along with the classics, there are lots of new and unusual items that you may not have seen before — cheddar, purple and Romanesco cauliflowers; Brussels sprouts; broccoli; asparagus; artichokes; beets of various colors; fava beans; and have you tried purple carrots or watermelon radishes?

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Currants and Parmesan


  • 2 tablespoons dried currants
  • 7 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), center ribs and stems removed, leaves massaged and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • • Parmesan cheese shavings


Place currants in small bowl; add 5 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar. Let soak overnight. Drain currants. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, honey, oil and salt in large bowl. Add kale, currants and pine nuts; toss to coat. Let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese shavings over salad and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Basil Caesar Salad


  • 1 (10-inch) baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1 cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 package romaine hearts (1 pound), leaves separated and washed well, then halved crosswise 1 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Preheat oven to 375° F with rack in middle. Toss bread with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large four-sided sheet pan; then spread out in one layer. Toast in oven, stirring halfway through, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, with motor running, drop garlic into a food processor and finely chop. Add egg, lemon juice, anchovy paste and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pulse until combined. With motor running, add remaining 6 tablespoons oil in a slow stream, blending until emulsified. Add herbs and blend until dressing turns green and herbs are finely chopped. Toss romaine with dressing, croutons, and half of cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

 Mixed Greens with Mustard Dressing


  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups frisée, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups torn radicchio leaves
  • 2 large heads of Belgian endive, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Whisk vinegar, mustard, shallot and garlic in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Toss frisée and all remaining ingredients in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Gratin of Green Spring Vegetables


  • 1 large bunch asparagus
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions (white and tender green parts)
  • 2 packed cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chilled


Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly butter an 8-cup gratin or a 10” soufflé dish. Snap the cut ends off the asparagus at its tender point and cut the stalks into thin slices. Lay the asparagus in the bottom of the prepared dish. Add pepper, to taste. Disperse the onions over the surface, then the shredded cabbage. Press the vegetables down as level as possible. Stir the salt into the cream and pour over the vegetables. Mix the cheese and bread crumbs, and scatter over the top. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape the butter into thin shards, then place them on the crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Serves 6.


Sources:,, and Joanne’s recipe box.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 2, April/May 2011.

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