Support your local farmers; the miracle makers
“The original strength of Rome, like that of China, was that of a superior family-agriculture.” GT Wrench
Remember I told you that one day I would tell the whole story of the garlic patch that grew to enormous proportions??
One dark blistery fall night, after a hearty meal laced with garlic, Dana had a brilliant idea. “Let’s plant lots and lots of garlic then sell it cause the world needs more garlic!” How hard could it be…. right? So off she went to the internet and ordered a BUNCH of different varieties of garlic to plant. When the blubs showed up, she then looked at her strong and able hubby and her bored mother and decreed, “You will go plant this in the wet and soggy soil and we will have garlic!” And they, being the good sports that they are, grumbled off to plant garlic in the pouring rain.
A year and a half later, we have over 20 varieties of garlic we are selling, sore bodies and reek of garlic all the time. (You can buy our organic garlic here.) We have learned many many things over this odyssey, and here are just a few of them. One; there are so many varieties of garlic it will make your head spin. Two; we will never do this again. Three; farmers are amazing. I mean really really amazing.
I obviously have a whole new appreciation of organic farmers. They are not growing all those wonderful delicious foods that they do to get rich. They are doing it because they are impassioned by some supernatural force to work the earth and produce small miracles in the forms of things like cabbages. Every single veggie, fruit or meat you see at the farmer’s market is a freaking miracle. Believe me, I speak from the voice of experience!
So come on down to your farmer’s market and support those farmers. We need to do that to keep them or they will disappear into the dust they work so hard to grow miracles out of. Then we will be left buying produce from Mexico and beyond.
This recipe is a showpiece! Nicoise salad is classical served on a big platter right in the middle of the table, and everyone eats off it. It is a very social salad. It is made up of all the wonderful things you can get locally from our farmers and fishermen. (Including our garlic!) The albacore tuna is being caught in our waters right now and is so excellent. Don’t miss it.
I recently bought some red alder smoked salt from “The Meadow.” Now The Meadow is this freaking amazing shop in Portland Ore that has about every kind of salt your imagination can think of.. and more. I used this salt in the dish and it definitely added a incredible depth to the deal. You can get smoked salt at about any gourmet store or online.
Grilled Tuna Nicoise Salad
For the tuna
1 pound of fresh albacore tuna loin(s)
3 – 6 cloves of garlic pressed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Smoked paprika or regular paprika
smoked salt or regular salt
pepper to taste
Heat up your grill and get it good and hot. While it is heating, roll the tuna loin(s) around in the garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika and let rest for a few minutes. Sear the tuna 5 to 7 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the loin, till it is just barely cooked through. Set on a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper and let it cool to room temp while you prepare the salad.
Enough mixed salad greens for 4
1 pound of tiny new potatoes
½ pound of green beans
½ pound of yellow beans
A pint of cherry tomatoes
4 hard boiled farm fresh eggs
½ cup of nicoise olives
In a mediumish saucepan, boil the eggs and potatoes at the same time. After ten minutes, remove the eggs and plunge into cold water. Drop your beans in the water and blanch them for a few minutes, not too long! Drain the beans and the potatoes and leave in the colander to cool. Peel your eggs. Cut the eggs and potatoes into quarters. This part can all be done the day before, if you need.
3 tablespoons of really good cider vinegar
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of Dijon-style mustard
½ cup of olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of fresh parsley leaves
½ cup of fresh tarragon leaves
Smoked salt (Optional) or regular salt
In a blender, add the vinegar, lemon juice and mustard and blend for a few moments. With the blender low, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream so it will emulsify. Toss in the chopped shallot, garlic and herbs and blend some more. Add the salt and pepper to taste. This can also be done the day before.
To assemble the masterpiece;
(This is the fun part!) Get out a beautiful platter and scatter some greens as the bottom layer on the platter. Place slices of the grilled tuna in the middle. Then, with all the artistic flair you can muster, arrange the beans, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs, and olives around the tuna. Drizzle the vinaigrette all over the mix and serve with the extra dressing and greens on the side. Sprinkle a little of the smoked salt on top for a fabulous flavor! You can also arrange four separate dishes with all the ingredients if you don’t want to fuss with a large platter. Bon Appétit!
Thank you to NK over at We (heart) Yarn for taking the pictures of the garlic. Go check out her blog for the most amazing photography!