May 25th, 2011

Sarah Goes To the Ballard market.

Rain or shine the Ballard Market is open every Sunday from 10-3. The vendors take over Ballard Ave more or less between Bastille Cafe and Miro Tea.   Rainbow flags at both ends herald the location.  Inclement weather used to keep the crowds away. That does not seem to be the case anymore. Finding a parking space is fast becoming a herculean task and berry season hasn’t even started yet!

The market, like the rest of the city, is starting to shake off it's winter malaise.  The flower vendors have returned bringing  much needed bursts of color to the scene.  Some spring greenery is available for sale at long last: asparagus, green garlic, pea shoots, fiddle head ferns (not a personal favorite),  and someone even had zucchini blossoms(!). Spring morels have arrived as well. Foraged and Found had some  of these mahogany and cream colored beauties this past weekend. Lovely palm sized gilled fungi that blew my market budget completely out of the water. And for the adventurous they also had sea beans. Blanched they are quite tasty with a sprinkling of cracked pepper and dressed with a spicier olive oil, perhaps with a poached filet of halibut.

I digress, back to the morels. As they are a wild food a thorough, but delicate cleaning is prudent.  You never know what sort of creepy crawler made a home in its cavity.  This time I sliced them lengthwise keeping them mostly intact. I like to sauté these mushrooms in a little butter with shallot until they caramelize slightly. As Julia says, ‘Don’t crowd the mushrooms’.  Deglaze with a little stock and red wine, crack in a little pepper, and your pappardelle sauce is ready. Garnished with chives and parsley from the garden and you have a more than satisfactory weekday meal. If you are feeling really indulgent you could add a splash of cream to the pan before it reduces too much.

We opened a bottle of the 2007 Le Defi Lamery and it paired beautifully. I don’t drink a lot of Bordeaux. I think I spend too much time reading about over extracted and over priced bottles from that region. I forget that there is so much more to it than just the over hyped luxe chateau. This wine was a nice reminder of that.

2007 Le Defi de Lamery: On the palate the wine had flavors of plum, black cherry, and chalk with moderately chalky tannins and acidity.  An hour or so later there were more lifted aromas of flowers and earth and the same on the palate.  The wines higher acidity gives it a lightness that allows your palate to breathe making this a great food wine.