I had all sorts of aspirations about this being a lovely and word-filled post, celebrating the beauty of the Spring farmer’s market. And then…I got sick. Nothing too serious, mind you. Just your standard issue scratchy throat/stuffy nose/achy body/stupid head cold.
The most troubling side effect of this head cold? Truth be told, my brain just feels squashy. I don’t know how to describe it any better than that. Its like my synapses aren’t firing correctly and all the the things I’m thinking aren’t spilling out onto the page. Everything is sloshing about in my cloudy head. It isn’t pretty.
So, then, rather than write a lovely and lengthy blog post, I’m going to give my squashy cold-infested brain a rest. I will, however, leave you with photos and recipes for not one – but two – perfect spring toasts. I made these for dinner last week, after a trip to the PSU Farmer’s Market.
The husb & I were still in the midst of our Lenten fast, so I made the toasts with Earth Balance as opposed to real butter. However, now that I am eating meat and dairy again, you can bet that I’ll be making these toasts with butter. (Everything is better with butter. Amen and amen.)
So, then, here is how I transformed a few lovely farmer’s market purchases into a simple and delicious dinner (aka Spring on a Plate).
Radish Tartiness with Butter & Mint | Caramelized Leek Tartiness with Aged Balsamic
For the Radish Tartiness:
Several slices of crusty cread (I used slices of fresh homemade bread, and it was amazing)
1 small bunch of fresh radishes, washed
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (*Or use Earth Balance to make the recipe vegan friendly)
High quality sea salt, such as Fleur De Sel
Pepper, to taste
*Optional: feel free to stir any herbs you have on hand into the butter to make an herbed butter spread. I added in some chives and they worked nicely with the dish.
Add a dash of salt & pepper to butter, stir until mixture is smooth & creamy.
Wash radishes and slice thinly. Set aside.
Toast bread slices in a skillet on the stovetop with a dash of oil or butter, until bread is golden brown (Note: can also use a toaster for this). Allow the bread to cool for a minute or two before spreading the butter mixture on it.
Spread butter mixture atop of toasted bread slices. Top butter mixture with a thin layer of radish slices. Sprinkle with fresh mint, garnish with extra salt and pepper if you so desire. Serve immediately.
For the Leek tartines:
A few slices of crusty bread
2 small leeks, sliced into thin rounds (white & light green parts)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Good quality aged balsamic vinegar (*Note: aged balsamic vinegar is noticeably thicker and sweeter than your typical balsamic. If you don’t have an aged balsamic, you could make an balsamic reduction to achieve a similar effect. Simply simmer balsamic vinegar on the stovetop in a small saucepan until the vinegar reduces and thickens.)
Freshly ground black pepper
In a small pan, heat a dash of olive oil. Add in sliced leeks, stir to coat in olive oil (add more if necessary). Slowly cook leeks over medium-low heat until caramelized (about 30 minutes). The leeks should be tender and starting to slightly brown. Once the leeks have caramelized, remove from heat.
As with the radish toasts, toast a few slices of bread in a skillet (or toaster). Spread a thin layer of butter over each piece of toast. Top with a generous pile of caramelized leeks, a healthy drizzle of aged balsamic and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.