Chow Bella

Farmers Market Salad at St. Francis Evolves as Summer Progresses

Sure, lots of people say they ascribe to the farm-to-table movement, and why wouldn't they? It's become a journalistic catchphrase, as well as a PR and marketing tool.

Then again, some chefs -- Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis, for one -- actually walk the talk, buying local, seasonal, and organic as much as the budget allows and incorporating the season's best and brightest produce in ways that make customers say, "Wow! I forgot how unbelievably good a tomato -- or fresh corn, or whatever -- could be!"

His new Farmers Market Salad typifies what Chamberlin is all about. It's a simple (and simply gorgeous) construct of base ingredients, with ever-changing additions and deletions as produce comes in or goes out of season.

Lightly dressed in Sauvignon Blanc vinaigrette, it's a real showstopper.

The beans give it a little heft, the pickled onion and red-vein sorrel a little tang, the purslane a touch of bitterness, and the tomatoes a burst of sweetness and juice.

Here's the breakdown:

The base ingredients are:

Green beans, McClendon's Select Yellow wax beans White beans, McClendon's Select Red onion (pickled), McClendon's Select Campari Tomato, McClendon's Select Parsley, Maya Dailey Celery Leaf

The additions at the moment are:

Red Vein Sorrel, Two Wash Ranch Purslane, Maya Dailey Shiso Leaf, Two Wash Ranch Heirloom tomatoes, Crooked Sky Farms

Additions for the future might be:

Radish, squash, cucumber, turnip, okra, and corn

I look forward to trying a new rendition of it -- so good with Chamberlin's crusty, hearth-baked bread -- as we get deeper into summer.

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Nikki Buchanan