Celebrate Local Food During National Farmers' Market Week


Photo: Kelly Rossiter

This is National Farmers' Market week in the U.S. and it's the perfect time to get acquainted with your local market if you haven't already. If you are a market regular, take a friend who's never been before. Buy a vegetable you've never tried and be adventuresome. Have a chat with the farmer who is selling her wares and ask her about the farm. Discover the joy of eating local and seasonal food that has just been picked. Take cash and cloth bags. Ask the farmers how they like to prepare the vegetables you are buying.
I write a series on Planet Green called Find Your Dinner at the Farmers's Market. I go to the market with an open mind, lots of reusable bags and no plans for dinner. I build my meal around what is available on that particular day and it's a lot of fun. This past week I got an enormous head of cauliflower which we are still working our way through. I tried this cauliflower gratin and expected it provide leftovers for lunch the following day, but it was so delicious, my husband and I kept eating it until it was all gone. I'll be making it again this weekend because we enjoyed it so much. I halved the recipe, so I didn't cook the whole head of cauliflower. You can always break it up first if you want to and decrease the cooking time a bit.


Photo: Kelly Rossiter

This recipe is from Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers' Market.

Golden Cauliflower Gratin with Capers

4 tsp unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 medium head cauliflower
3 1/2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 tsp red peppers flakes

1. In a covered steamer over boiling water, cook the whole cauliflower until almost tender, 15 - 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Cut into 8 wedges and arrange on a greased medium sized baking dish.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tsp of the butter. When it foams, remove it from the heat and whisk in the flour. Return to medium heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Reduce the heat to low, add 12 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepeprs and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and smooth, about 15 minutes.

3. In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 tsp butter. When it foams, add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden, 3 - 4 minutes. Stir in the capers and red pepper flakes and pour over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs.

4. Bake at 400F until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

More About Farmers' Markets
The Farmers' Market of the Future
Know Your Farmers' Market? A Quiz
Take a Trip to the Farmers' Market

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