Creative fare featuring farmer's market ingredients served in many of our local restaurants
It's high summer and the Santa Fe Farmers' Market is brimming with fresh, seasonal ingredients that are bursting with flavor, the kind you simply can't find during the rest of the year. It's the time for eating juicy tomatoes ripe off the vine and sweet corn right off the cob, slathered in butter and salt. New Mexico's famous green chile is ready for roasting and the summer squash is perfectly ripe for calabacitas, gratins and other dishes. Blackberries and raspberries are yours for the picking and sweet pink watermelon makes the perfect dessert and provides ammo for picnic seed-spitting contests.
This year, the Santa Fe Farmer's Market celebrates its 50th anniversary with an array of festive events, including a weekly giveaway of a birthday basket filled with market goodies. And while you can purchase all kinds of delectable, locally grown food by visiting the market, you can also savor creative fare featuring farmer's market ingredients served in many of our local restaurants. Here's a look at just some of the dishes on current menus around town.
Joe's Dining is one of the biggest restaurant buyers at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market, serving seasonal vegetables and fruits as well as grass-finished beef and organic lamb, Here, the Garden Salad is brimming with greens, carrots, tomatoes and red onions. If you're lucky, the Farmers Market Salad will be a special, a constantly changing plate of seasonal market ingredients such as arugula , beets, corn, sprouts, raspberries, sunchokes and more.
It's nearly time for Joe's famous Pizza Margherita and Caprese salad, both featuring fresh market tomatoes and fiore di latte—fresh mozzarella that's made in-house daily. The restaurant is equally famous for its burgers, made with grass-fed and organic meat from the farmer's market. Don't miss the green chile cheese buffalo burger, with bison meat from Lamont's or the Greek lamb burger made with meat from Shepherd's Lamb, along with Tucumcari feta, chopped kalamata olives and tzatziki. For dessert, a slice of a seasonal fruit pie—apple, berry, peach and more—is a serving of summer on a plate.
Boxcar couldn't have a better location for shopping the Santa Fe Farmers' Market, because it takes place just outside the restaurant's back door. This makes it easy for the chef to highlight fresh local ingredients—including organic, as much as possible—and to live up to the eatery's promise to never use anything frozen. In fact, the market's ingredients played a big role when Boxcar's menu was in development.
The Farmers' Market Beet & Arugula Salad is named for the farmers' market, a combo of beets, arugula and a goat cheese croquette, all drizzled in roasted balsamic vinaigrette. The Mixed Greens Salad also features farmer's market ingredients—mixed greens, shaved carrots, watermelon radishes, cucumbers and a choice of dressings. These dishes are delicious and fresh, a reminder that the Santa Fe Farmers' Market takes place just outside the door, as is the braised short rib, made with New Mexico grass-fed beef, fire-roasted salsa pico de gallo and guacamole. The famous Boxcar Mac'n'Cheese features New Mexico Hatch green chile along with Kyzer pork belly, crispy bacon, chicken, spinach and roasted red peppers, all smothered in Tucumcari cheddar and mozzarella. Even the signature chicken and waffles are served with New Mexico red chile butter.
Chef Louis Moskow of 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar also relies on fresh, seasonal ingredients that he purchases at the farmer's market year-round. Right now, he's using beautiful squash blossoms to make one of his longstanding famous seasonal appetizers, Squash Blossom Beignets with goat cheese fondue and tomato basil sauce, one of the best summer dishes in all of Santa Fe. 315's Mr. G's Garden Salad—filled with fresh vegetables from the market and tossed with a champagne vinaigrette—is named after the farmer who grows them.
The Shrimp Scampi and Asparagus Risotto appetizer features asparagus from the farmer's market, as does the entree, Grilled Branzino with Lemon Caper Butter. And you can't get more market-centric than with the Farmers' Market Vegetable Pot with Pesto Squash Puree, an entree with squash and tomatoes served with saffron aioli, tomato or roasted shallot fondue. All kinds of seasonal sides end up with your entree at 315, from the Pan-Seared Alaskan halibut with mixed peas, baby carrots and avocado salad with basil emulsion to the Fresh Fettuccini with Braised Lamb & Marsala, accompanied by onion congit, summer squash, fava beans and sun-dried tomato.
These are but a few of the local restaurants serving fresh, seasonal fare from the farmer's market. You never know which ingredient on your plate has been lovingly nurtured by an area farmer from seed to sprout to blossom, a journey that ends with a memorable flavor for you to savor. But you can always ask, and the chef who's working with farm-grown ingredients will likely be happy to tell you precisely where your food came from.