Happy summer! I hope everyone is making the most of the season and getting fresh foods from local farmers. If you’re in Pittsburgh, there are farmers’ markets options around the city, every day but Sunday. This interactive map from the Post-Gazette can help you locate an option convenient for you. If you can, visit a couple options so you can increase your range of options–not all markets have the same vendors!
Last week, I was lucky enough to be hosted by PASA to cook at Farmers at Phipps, the Wednesday market at Phipps Conservatory in Oakland.
I won’t be at the farmers’ market this week, but will return on July 1, so please come out and support your farmers if you can. I’ll be on hand to give tips on using ingredients you might not be totally familiar with, and samples of whatever I can concoct from the ingredients the farmers have on hand (the mystery basket: I won’t know what’s in it until it’s presented to me).
Last week, I made several different dishes with the ingredients that were on hand, but this was perhaps my favorite: a sweet rhubarb and goat cheese omelette.
Don’t let the ingredients scare you—there was one guy who stopped by the tent to see what I was cooking. When he heard, he started walking away. “That’s way too cultured for me,” he said, “I don’t know that I’d like it.”
“I can’t guarantee you you’ll like it,” I agreed. “But I can guarantee that if you don’t taste it, you’ll never know if you like it or not.” He tasted. He liked it. Maybe you will too. But, feel free to substitute flavors. I used rhubarb because that’s what was available. But we’re in raspberry season by now, with blackberries and blueberries to follow. Either of those would make great substitutions for rhubarb though they would need to be cooked much less. If you don’t have goat cheese, cream cheese would work. But a local goat cheese would make it that much better.
One ingredient you shouldn’t compromise on is eggs. There are so many more local egg options I’ve seen on the market today as compared with even three or four years ago. What had been an item on the fringe is starting to seem a little more mainstream, which is a great development. Get some local eggs, your taste buds will thank you for it.
Sweet Rhubarb and Goat Cheese Omelette
* 1 stalk fresh rhubarb, diced to approximately 1/4-inch pieces
* 2 local eggs
* brown sugar, to taste
* vanilla (optional)
* 1-2 tablespoons goat cheese
* oil or butter to cook in
Get two pans hot: one a cast iron or non-stick pan for creating the omelette, the other a good saute pan for cooking the rhubarb.
Saute the rhubarb in a small amount of oil or butter. As it softens, add a sprinkle of brown sugar—maybe a couple of teaspoons or so.
Beat the eggs lightly with a very small pinch of salt, just a touch of brown sugar, and about 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, if you’re using it. Add oil or butter to the omelette pan and let the fat get hot. Pour the eggs around the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. As the omelette approaches doneness, add the rubarb filling and dot the surface with goat cheese. As the egg just barely reaches the point where it is set, roll the omelette out of the pan onto a plate. Garnish with fresh berries if desired and serve immediately.
Variations: If using fresh berries, add the sugar into the butter or oil, and then add about half of the berries you intend for the omelette. The juice they release will combine with the sugar and prevent it from turning into hard candy in the bottom of your pan. When adding this filling to the omelette, add in the other half of the berries and let them heat up with the omelette (if using strawberries, cut large berries in 1/2 or 1/4).