This past weekend, Micah, his brother, some friends and I were all involved in the local 48 Hour Film Project. Between 7 PM on Friday and 7 PM on Sunday, we planned, wrote, filmed, and edited a short movie.
Needless to say, by the time Sunday evening rolled around, we were pretty exhausted, and I didn’t have the energy to cook a fancy Sunday dinner. I did, however, make it to the local farmer’s market on Saturday afternoon, and picked up a few fun ingredients to play with. Since Sunday night was a bust, I used them tonight to make a delicious dinner for the two of us.
We have not quite made the transition to totally local - we’re still using up other ingredients in the freezer and fridge. Tonight’s featured local ingredients were:
- Maple Syrup (purchased at the Madison Farmers’ Market earlier this season)
- Garlic scapes*
- Fresh spinach*
*If not otherwise specified, assume that all local ingredients were purchased at the West Allis Farmers’ Market.
The inspiration for this meal started with the garlic scapes. If you haven’t tried them before, you probably should. Garlic scapes are the stiff, curling stalks that sprout from garlic. I find that they have a sharp, strong taste that is somewhere between raw garlic and green onions. I had seen them mentioned on the Internet (probably on Pinterest) and when I spotted them at my local market, I didn’t hesitate to snatch them up. Last week I tried making this scape pesto, but both Micah and I found it a bit too strong for our taste, so this time around I knew that I wanted to roast or grill them for a mellower flavor.
With this in mind, I searched my freezer for an entrée, and decided to go with salmon. Seafood is an extremely rare choice for us – I have never cared much for it, though I have begun branching out in the last few years, and so when I do salmon, it’s kind of a big deal.
I found this recipe and decided to give it a try, with a couple of modifications.
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 Tsp. soy sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Dash of garlic powder
- A few good grinds of pepper
- A bit of olive oil
- 2 salmon filets
In a bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, minced garlic, garlic powder, and pepper. Place salmon in a small dish and pour the sauce over the salmon. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning the salmon once. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a glass or ceramic baking dish by lightly greasing the bottom with olive oil. Bake the salmon, uncovered, for about 20 minutes (until it flakes easily with a fork).
To go along with the salmon, I decided to roast the scapes – this saved me a lot of time and energy, as I could just pop them into the oven alongside the salmon and not deal with the hassle of the grill.
Roasted Garlic Scapes
- 1 bunch garlic scapes
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the scapes well and cut off the ends. Chop the scapes into 3 – 4 inch pieces, discarding the skinny tips (or, as I did, you can reserve these, mince them, and use them as a garlic substitute). Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and grease lightly with olive oil. Spread the scapes in a single layer on the pan and roll them a bit, making sure they are coated with olive oil. Add a bit of salt and pepper and pop into the oven until the scapes start to caramelize – about 12 minutes, in my case.
Finally, I wanted some kind of carb on the side, and decided to stick with the fancy theme and go with a quinoa salad. A quick Google search turned up this recipe, which I used as a jumping-off point for the recipe below.
Quinoa with Spinach and Feta
- 1.5 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach, washed and dried
- Roasted, minced garlic scapes to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Feta cheese
Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan and add the spinach, stirring until it begins to wilt. Add the roasted minced scapes and salt and pepper to taste. In a bowl, mix the quinoa with a bit of feta cheese (as much as you like) and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add the spinach and scapes and mix it all together. Voila! An easy, tasty side dish.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t yet decided to start this blog when I was cooking, so I don’t have any pictures of the process – but here’s a photo of the final product. I will try to be better in the future!
After such a busy weekend, it was nice to relax with Micah on the couch with an episode of Downton Abbey, a delicious meal, and a glass of Prairie Fume, one of our favorite wines – and also (relatively) locally produced!
Stayed tuned this week – other upcoming locally-inspired meals include a strawberry chicken salad, stir fry with sugar snap peas, and spinach enchiladas, and next weekend I’ll try to take you to my local farmers’ market in West Allis!