Hallelujah! My neighborhood far mar, Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market, is opening this Saturday. I’m working there the first day and cannot wait to be surrounded by spring’s fresh vegetables. But I just couldn’t wait and headed to FRESHFARM’s Dupont far mar this past Sunday. A little sneak peak, if you will.
I listen to Cher and always do a lap before I commit (see last quote), checking options, quality, prices and variety around the far mar. I selected the spring staple asparagus, as well as spinach. And then I made my one out-there purchase: peppercress. I’d never heard of it before. My rule at market is if I haven’t heard of it I’m allowed to buy it and will try not to buy something else that I’ve already discovered.
I tasted the mirco-green and holy crap, it’s like eating horseradish. It has that fantastic harsh heat, sort of like a radish as well. I was stoked but wasn’t at all sure how I’d like to use it. And then I went with my standby: whiz it into a sauce.
Recipe, with mysterious berry, after the jump.
Wheat Berry, Asparagus and Spinach Salad with Peppercress-Yogurt Dressing
I followed the directions on my cheat sheet that came with the berries. In fact, these are hard red wheat berries, picked from Nash’s Organic Produce in Sequim, Washington. I bought them back when I vacationed to Seattle in February. As such, I rinsed and then soaked 1 cup of berries over night. Then I drained the berries and them added them to 3 cups of boiling, salted water, then brought the water down to a simmer. (I also got some help from Ina Garten.)
After about 70 minutes I still wasn’t happy with the texture (too chewy) so I added another cup of water to continue the simmer and absorb the water for maybe another 20 minutes.
During that time I prepped the rest of the ingredients. In a small food processor, I blended peppercress, Greek yogurt, a touch of oil, salt and pepper for a zesty, creamy dressing.
I then blanched the asparagus, keeping it the boiling, salted water for only 30 seconds, soaking it in an ice bath and then draining it. I chopped the asparagus into bite size pieces. Normally I would then sear the asparagus for more flavor, but it was already so beautifully bright green and had this fantastic snap to it that I just left it boiled.
For the spinach, I simply washed it and chopped the ends apart. I wanted to add some crunch and a bit of protein, so I roughly chopped up a few almonds and then to up the creaminess (not necessary) I threw in a few chunks of avocado. Mostly because I had one around and it needed to be used. Well, and really mostly because avocado is awesome.
As the peppercress is so pretty (and I have to get through a quarter pound of it), I added just a few of the greens to top the mound right before dressing it.