It’s hard for me to pick a favorite Farmers Market these days. I love each one that I go to for my demos and shopping. They are all as unique as their surroundings. Each has a vibe of their own, lent in part by the vendors, customers and the Market Managers. I can’t remember exactly how I came to find the John Jay Farm Market, or if Jennifer, the market manager, found me; but last summer I made it there three times and loved every minute.
First, you can’t beat the location: it sits right in front of the historic John Jay Homestead, in Katonah, every Saturday. After jumping off 684N in Katonah you make a right on to Cross River Road (Rte 35) and then a first right on to Golden’s Bridge Road (Rte 22), which becomes Jay St. You travel down the slightly winding street about a mile and a half and you’ll find it on your left. The market usually has a live band playing which lends to its welcoming feeling.
I’d been planning since their closing day this past October to be at the opening this year. After a couple of touch-base emails with Jennifer we decided it would be fun for me to collaborate with Cabbage Hill Farm.
More after the jump …
A little about CHF: they are dedicated to the preservation of historic farm animals and the small farm. In addition, they practice sustainable agriculture and aquaponics; and increase awareness through an educational model built around a working farm.
Their greenhouse is used to produce high quality greens and fish year round. Aquaponics is the practice of using nitrogen rich water that fish are reared in to grow vegetables. Their aquaponics system is a closed system that uses very little water and land to yield a high amount of protein and vegetables. The fish they farm include Tilapia, Sunshine Bass, and Rainbow trout.
I took a drive up there early in June to see the farm and figure out with the Greenhouse Manager, Barney Sponenberg, what would make sense for me to use. Since it was early in the month many things were just starting to sprout so it was a little hard at the time to gauge what would make sense for me to use at the end of June.
After a look around I decided it would be fun to highlight something I typically don’t work with: smoked trout. Admittedly I not a huge fan … I’ve just never really liked smoked trout. However, I am always open to trying things a second or third time to see if my mind can be changed. I’m happy to report, that in this case it was. Their product is just delicious! So I decided to create a salad for you using the trout along with farro and perhaps a nice stone fruit.
Aside from the outer skin, bones and the head, the fish is full of meat. After carefully pulling off the outer skin the fillets separate easily – just do it slowly so you can capture all the tiny bones. Then flake it in to large pieces.
Basically in the time it takes you to cook the farro you can have all of your prep business done with the fish and fruit. I used apricots for this recipe, but you can easily change it up with peaches. Texturally I think a softer stone fruit makes sense. The smokiness from the fish and sweetness of the fruit and dressing really are a match made in heaven!
Cabbage Hill only goes to the John Jay Market so jet over there this coming weekend and pick up some of their trout. I promise you will not be disappointed!
Happy 4th of July and Buon Appetito!
Smoked Trout, Farro and Apricot Salad
1 cup farro
1 Cabbage Hill Smoked Rainbow Trout, about 2 cups
1¼ cups apricot, about 2, ¼” dice
1-2 tablespoons Cabbage Hill Farm “pistou” oregano, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup shallot, finely minced
4 cups of arugula
In a small pot of boiling salted water cook the farro for about 20 minutes, until it is al dente. Drain and set in a large bowl.
Meanwhile remove the skin from the trout. Carefully pull off the meat and break up, but keeping it in bite size pieces. Take care to pull out all of the small bones as well.
Place the honey, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl. Whisk to blend. Whisk in the finely minced shallot. Add the dressing to the warm farro and thoroughly combine. Fold in the apricot, oregano and fish gently, taking care to not break up the trout. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. If possible, cover and place in ‘fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to marry. (It tastes even better the next day!)
Dress the arugula with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Divide between 4 plates and top with the trout-farro salad and serve.
Cooks note: if you are not able to get the tiny leaf oregano from Cabbage Hill Farm, start with 1 tablespoon of the fresh larger leaf and add to taste.
Maria Reina is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Port Chester, NY. In her free time she loves hanging out at local Farmers Markets in Westchester County doing cooking demos with seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.