I can’t really put my finger on it, but the greenmarkets I’ve been to around New York seem to inspire me much more than those I visit at home in Sydney. Is it the current season? Or is it the fact that I’m in a foreign city; my favourite city in the world? The prices are much lower here as well.
Seeing fresh market produce always gets me thinking about what I can create with it, and thanks to staying in a loft with a functioning kitchen warrants buying what I want and knocking something up for a meal. The kitchen we have may not be fully equipped as the one we have at home, but having a couple of pots, pans and limited pantry staples is enough to go by.
What I’ve made here is a relatively basic salad that celebrates the gorgeous produce I’ve picked up from the markets. Fresh soya beans and mustard cress from Abingdon Square Greenmarket, three types of baby beets, fresh sprouts and artisan bread from Union Square Greenmarket. I was amazed at the variety of sprouts available and couldn’t help but grab some beautiful purple radish sprouts, hong vit radish sprouts and sunflower sprouts.
I made croutons using a Hawthorne Valley black forest rye; a dense German-style bread containing currants, caraway and sea salt. This added a lovely crunch. And the tiny grape mozzarella I spotted at a local grocer had to come home with me. If you can’t get it, just use baby bocconcini, torn into small pieces.
Finally, because I pretty much threw this salad together without weighing or measuring; the quantities I’m providing are estimates. There are no rules here!
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cut the stalks and leaves off the beets, leaving about an inch of stalk on each. Wash the beets really well under running water, shake off the water, then place the beets into a small roasting dish. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil, half cup of water and toss well. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for an hour, or until cooked through. Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the skin from the beets and place them into a mixing bowl.
As the beets are baking, steam or boil the soya beans for 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze the pods to remove the beans, adding them to the mixing bowl.
For the croutons, place the torn chunks of rye onto a small roasting tray, drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp. Set aside to cool.
To serve the salad you can either assemble each ingredient on the serving platter then dress it with extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic, or toss all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season with sea salt and black pepper.