Farmers’ Market Salad: The Taste of Southern California (Summer 2021)

Los Angeles has no shortage of culinary inspiration, and the farmers’ markets here have been giving me all sorts of ideas.

The richness in colors, flavors, and aromas here lend themselves to a level of contentment it is hard to cultivate in pandemic times, and I feel fortunate to be able to take it all in.

In an escapade as dangerous as it was delectable, I made an event of wandering the farmers market in search of my next project, bank account be damned. I may not be able to do it every weekend, but perhaps that makes it all the more special on the occasions I do. I rarely see such stunning produce.

Most noteworthy of my finds were edible flowers, namely squash blossoms and allium giganteum. I had a pot of nasturtiums at home, and honestly, having three wildly different looking and tasting edible flowers to decorate/ flavor my projects with really does something for me. They are just… fun. Using them makes me feel like a naturalist fairy princess too so there is that.

I ended up making a summer salad using the following farmers’ market/ garden finds.

Summer Salad:

  • Kale (stripped from stalk, sliced thin, and massaged in olive oil, salt, and pepper)
  • Lettuce
  • Roasted Broccoli & brussels sprouts
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Sorrel
  • Parsley
  • Nasturtiums
  • Allium Giganteum flowers
  • Fried squash blossoms stuffed with sun dried tomato & herb goat cheese
  • Extra sun dried tomato & herb goat cheese
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper

This was probably one of my favorite dishes I made all summer. The flavors all worked so well together and the final project was just beautiful. Aesthetics may not matter to some people, but for me, design matters. If you’re gonna have onion-y and peppery flavors in your salad, why not have em in the form of colorful flowers? Why not have a meal that visually reflects the feeling you had when you were wandering around the farmers market that very morning?

As an aside, this was my first time working with and tasting squash blossoms and they were lovely when fried and stuffed with goat cheese. These alone make for a tasty, delicately crunchy, creamy summer snack, and they were definitely the stars of the show.

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