Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Farmers’ market filled with inspiration

Cathi Litzenberger says summer is a great time to live in the Okanagan, with its abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables

With another holiday weekend approaching, it’s the perfect time to hit a farmers’ market, and stock up for the barbecuing weekend.

Today’s recipes are two salads which will add a special twist to any gathering. The first is a great summer salad or side dish when you’re in a hurry and want something a little off the beaten path. It has a delightful flavour, even with an absence of leafy greens. The salmon caesar salad is a meal in itself and a nice change from a plain, or chicken caesar. It’s also very decorative with the lacy parmesan chip and home made croutons. Give them a try this long weekend.

The Slice is right

(Courtesy of the

Victoria Food Club)

1/2 head of fresh fennel

Sea salt

Sweet yellow and red grape size tomatoes (about 1/4 cup each or to your taste)

Handful of pine nuts

Pinch of hemp and flax seeds

Good quality balsamic vinegar

Extra-virgin oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Grated fresh Parmesan

Core and then thinly slice fennel, including fronds. Artfully sprinkle on large plate. Grind a little fresh sea salt over top and toss to mix.

Next, slice a few yellow and red grape or cherry tomatoes in half or thinly slice. Sprinkle over fennel. Salt it and walk away for 10 to 15 minutes. Let mixture steep, weep out moisture and basically give it time so the ingredients get to know each other more intimately.

Meanwhile, grab a frying pan. Throw in a handful of pine nuts and pinches of hemp and flax seeds. Dry- toast or roast in a warm oven until pine nuts are deep golden and the whole thing smells dizzily aromatic. Set aside. Throw caution and measuring spoons to the wind. Freehand a generous drizzle of really good quality balsamic vinegar (or try vincotto or cream di balsamico) over top, and then finish with lashings of extra-virgin olive oil. Add dusting of freshly ground black pepper and gratings of Parmesan. Finish with the toasty nut mixture.

Salmon Caesar Salad

with Parmesan

Cheese Crisps

3 large eggs

3 oz. of fresh grated Parmesan cheese plus more to taste

Non-stick spray

6 oz. salmon fillet

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp. of olive oil

3 cups of fresh washed Romaine lettuce

2 oz. of Caesar salad dressing (Renee’s Caesar is my favourite)

Juice of 1/4 fresh lemon

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


4 tbsp. of olive oil

Granulated garlic to taste

1/2 baguette cut into cubes

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Bacon bits, optional

Lemon twists, optional

Place the eggs in a small pot, then fill it with cold water. Bring the eggs to a boil then put a cover over the pot, remove from the heat and let sit for 12 to 15 minutes. Chill the eggs completely before slicing. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick spray, place 3 three-inches in diameter of shredded Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven on 350 F for 5 to 6 minutes. Once cooled, remove from the pan and set aside. Next, season the salmon on all sides with juice from half a lemon, and salt and pepper. Brown on both sides in 1 tsp. olive oil in a hot sauté pan, until cooked through. Set aside once it is finished cooking.

Place the baguette cubes on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle on olive oil, sprinkle on granulated garlic and bake in the oven on 350 F for 12 to 16 minutes or crunchy and golden brown.  Once everything is prepared, dress the outside of a large salad bowl with the Caesar salad dressing. Add the romaine lettuce, the Parmesan cheese (to taste), croutons and mix thoroughly.  Squeeze lemon juice on the bottom of a plate, then place the tossed salad greens on top. Garnish with sliced hard boiled eggs, a sprinkling of bacon bits if desired, salmon, cheese crisps, parmesan cheese to taste, fresh cracked black pepper and a lemon twist.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.