Friday, June 1, 2012

Blazes, It's Battle Salad!

I had the best of intentions last weekend, trekking to four farmers markets earlier Saturday morning than I usually get out and about. My grand plan also included attending Taste of Cincinnati. But by 10:15, dripping through my shirt, I realized it was not to be. With temps in the 90s and humidity to match, this Memorial Day weekend felt more like Labor Day often does in the Queen City.

My intended Battle Salad entry was spurred by a recipe I saw a couple years ago for a blackberry and bacon salad along these lines. I picked up some herbed goat cheese from nearby Capriole Farm, thinking to try my hand at breading and frying it. To gild the salad lily a tad more, I contemplated extending my recent obsession with runny eggs, a technique I have yet to perfect at home in a skillet, although fresh thyme and sherry vinegar are plusses. Time spent photographing results, not so much, since runny eggs run only so long.

What to do when summer weather saps your ambitions and, darn it, you just need to eat a simple supper? Forget about that blackberry puree you'd need to strain the seeds out of. Heck, forget about following any ding dang recipe (my frequent approach here in the Intuitive Eggplant Kitchen). Consider what you have on hand, pay attention to anything that actually makes you want to eat, then wing it. These local strawberries from the inaugural weekend of the Mt. Adams Farmers Market were something I wanted to eat right right away.
Bacon always makes me hungry, so I fried up some Hickory Smoked Bacon I'd bought at Eckerlin's at Findlay Market and decided to incorporate strawberries instead of blackberries for this venture. A couple more farmers market purchases that piqued my tastebuds were a caramelized onion and herb foccacia from Savor at Covington Farmers Market and cheese brats made from a Napoleon Ridge goat (appropriately named Gouda) I met on a visit to the farm a couple months ago. Tricia from Napoleon Ridge partners with some of the best small sausage makers/butchers in the region to process her animals. If you're looking for local and sustainably raised proteins, check out her booth at the Saturday morning Covington farmers market, where she Kentucky-proudly offers up great stuff not just from her own farm but her great network of local/regional small farmers and producers. Here's the salad I ended up with.