Minneapolis Farmers Market and Panzanella Caprese Bread Salad
Now this, this was a wonderful weekend. Greg came home around noon Friday and we were off to our local farmer’s market. We met a nice vendor with many varieties of tomatoes. She reported that her husband is the tomato expert and that she calls him “the tomato man.” Cute. Her prices were the best and she was very warm and inviting. Now that the students are coming back, we’ve noticed a slight increase in the amount of vendors but it’s still a small scene. I walked out with several pounds of tomatoes, mostly heirloom, peppers and large red/white onions.
On a whim Saturday we drove 45 minutes to the Minneapolis farmer’s market on Lyndale Avenue. We weren’t sure if we were going to make it as there are two seasons in Minnesota, winter and construction and it is not winter…. we were stuck on I35 for quite some time.
This was our first trip to this market and upon arrival; we were bombarded with hoards of people and lots of traffic. We finally found a parking spot beside the Traffic Engineering building which was ironic (wish I had my camera) because the vehicles were all parked haphazardly in places where it stated ‘no parking’ and the Cities seem to have been designed by drunks as maneuvering makes no sense. I loved our experience at the market, except for the woman who kept running into me with her stroller….which didn’t contain a child or anything really. I started zigging when she zagged and then we’d reverse and that’s when I got the ole stroller to the ankle bit (Greg would add “oldest trick in the book” and I would say “that’s how we roll” ….get it, stroller and roll? These are the jokes folks.)
I think she was using it to shove people along or run over them for pleasure with her invisible child. Anyway, we bought portobellos, golden beets, plums, limes, dutch clover honey, and candied pecans. We had a great foot long hot dog for lunch with onions, peppers, sauerkraut and golden mustard and a lemonade. We met quite a few kind vendors and will be going back. I think we are going to venture to the Mill City farmer’s market next, also in Minneapolis.
Once home, I began cooking with many of my obtained goodies and will be posting those recipes this week.
Although it’s Monday, I am enjoying the day because there’s a chill in the air, fall is coming (my favorite season) and I have a good cup of coffee. I love being up when no one is around yet in town and I need a light sweater and I have a warm beverage and my family is coming and…….ah, lovely.
Of course I wanted to use some tomatoes so I went to one of my favorite salad recipes- Gourmet magazine’s panzanella caprese, which equates to a bread salad with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. I adjusted the recipe to my taste and whoa, was it tasty.
Panzanella Caprese Salad (Bread, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad)
Serves 4 to 6
1 baguette, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup olive oil plus 2 tbsp
2 cloves of garlic
3 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp drained capers, smashed
1 3/4 lbs. tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup chopped basil
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss the bread with 2 tbsp of olive oil and salt/pepper in a bowl. Place on a sheet pan, spread in a single layer and bake, stirring once, until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool and set aside.
Mince the garlic and mash to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt. Place in a large bowl and whisk in the vinegar, capers and remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil. Add the croutons, tomatoes, onion, basil and mozzarella. Let stand for 20 minutes at room temperature. This can be made an hour before and chilled but be sure to bring to room temperature before serving.