Letting the market guide the menu

Of course, I mean the farmers’ market, not the financial or stock markets. One of the joys of living in Southern California is the year-round farmers’ markets. It is possible to fairly routinely prepare meals from what is market-fresh, in season and locally grown. There are farmers’ markets in most of the towns and cities nearby, many of which are Orange County Certified Farmers’ Markets.

I found some perfect sized and great-looking eggplants, and piles of small, firm brussels sprouts at the market this week. The only question was how to prepare them.

Brussels sprouts from the market ready to roast

For the brussels sprouts, I went with an old stand-by. I roasted them in the oven with thinly-sliced shallot, a few whole peeled garlic cloves, a couple of small rosemary sprigs, some EVO, salt and pepper. At 400ºF, it took about 30 minutes to get them tender and nicely browned at the edges. I turned them every 10 minutes or so.

Eggplants from the market ready for the grill

I’ve grilled eggplant before – very simply – EVO, salt and pepper. I felt the need this time for something better, so for inspiration I turned, once again, to Marcella Hazan. I adapted her recipe for Melanzane in Graticola, leaving out the rosemary since I was already using it in the brussels sprouts, and cooking them on the grill rather than in the broiler (Grilled Eggplant recipe).

Grilled Lemon-Caper Chicken (this time minus the sauce), grilled lemons, our usual salad of greens and vegetables (from the farmers’ market) with dijon vinaigrette, and a slice or two of multi-grain bread, and dinner is served! As usual, our meal is mostly vegetables with a little bit of meat. Delicious!

Plated dinner of chicken, eggplant, brussels sprouts and lemon

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