The blackberries, with their unmistakable honeycomb shape, are dark and promise to be sweet and juicy.
As I ask for a basket, I am already thinking about the blackberry salad I will prepare for dinner.
A wander among the august market stalls
August is one of my favorite months to shop for fruit and vegetables at the market.
Summer vegetables are now full of flavor and bright colors. Two characteristics that make me want to fill my shopping bag and cook.
There is a book by Paul Bocuse, dedicated to cooking based on the market food, that I often leaf through. Each time, I imagine the master with his basket wandering through the stalls full of food.
Cheese, eggs, vegetables, fruit, meat, bread.
Shopping at the market, the weekly market where there are still food stalls, or the farmers’ market, gives me great satisfaction. Compared to the shop, you feel that the short supply chain is not just about food; the friendly relationship you immediately establish with the seller is different, less formal. I often chat and exchange tips with the people in line.
Market evokes the canvas bag, or perhaps the net bag, the changing and colorful seasons, the kindness of the shopkeeper, the ‘smells’ given with a smile.
It evokes the past, the peasant tradition with its poor but nutritious recipes.
Shopping at the market or directly by the farmers is an action that implies a precise idea of food and, ultimately, of life. It’s a way of life I’m looking at with increasing interest.
Weekly and farmers’ markets in Italy
I think of the French markets, then the Italian ones, and I sigh.
Food in the markets, and its poetry, is one of the things we have almost lost in Italy for excessive bureaucracy.
In Emilia-Romagna, for example, food has disappeared from the weekly city markets. The food stalls are still there, sometimes in small municipalities where they provide an extra service.
For some years now, farmers’ markets have represented a new offer. In Bologna, every area and neighborhood has its own. And as someone who has visited almost all of them out of personal and professional interest, I believe that the return of farmers’ markets represents the common thread between old and new, ancient and future.
But in Italy, farmers don’t always sell what they grow and produce. Especially those that do many days of market.
Or those who have too large stalls and all or almost all types of fruit and vegetables. So before buying, I ask about the farm, how big it is, and what he grows. Then I look for products to understand if he has bought at the wholesale market like a normal greengrocer. The farmers’ market should be something else.
A blackberries salad
The market kitchen calls for simple, almost elementary recipes, and I effortlessly stuck its spirit.
To create the mix of flavors that make up this salad, I used one of my favorite dictionaries dedicated to flavor-based combinations of ingredients.
There is the peach, with its fresh fruity taste, that goes well with the bramble blackberries. Both work well with dairy products, and I chose an aged goat cheese. Again, peach enhances the slightly smoky flavor of Italian carne salada. Maybe you can substitute it with salted meat.
The bitterness of the rocket fades into the sweetness of the blackberries. While the peach tempers the slightly spicy taste of the radishes.
Whether or not to add cubes of meat is up to you, while I strongly recommend cheese. I have tried both versions, and both work well for me (but I prefer the one with the cubes of carne salada).
I served the blackberry salad on a stand usually reserved for fruit or cake, but even on a simple plate it looks good (see the second photo before the recipe).
Buona cucina, Monica
Paul Bocuse, La Cuisine du Marché.
Niki Segnit, The flavour Thesaurus.
Cooking with me
A tasty, rich, colorful salad, accompanied by a vegetarian meatloaf of potatoes and green beans, which in Italy there are during all summer long, is also to be served cold. All accompanied with homemade bread. I leave you the link to a recipe that I published on Instagram: here. All accompanied by a glass of red with ice cubes clinking in it. And to finish, a tart with fresh figs. These are the tables I like.
If you’re looking for more ideas about summer salad, you can find more salad and side dish recipes here.
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List of Ingredients
2 bunches of radishes
1 bunch of rocket
aged goat cheese, 120g
salted meat, 120g
Wash and dry each fruit and vegetable separately.
Thinly slice the radishes and place them in a bowl with cold water and ice to keep them crisp.
Dice the cheese and carne salada (or salted meat) and set aside; add these ingredients like last.
Peel and slice the peaches.
Put the salad on a serving plate or individual plates, dress with olive oil, and, if you like, filtered lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.