A glorious tulip gifted by an anonymous fellow at the U-District Farmers’ Market on Valentine’s weekend
Greetings from our new home….Seattle. Himself and I have been here just over a month, our days a jumble of unpacking, wondering which boxes we’ve stashed in the garage might contain something we’re missing, and reconnecting with friends and colleagues. And we’re adjusting from an LA winter to a Seattle winter not only in terms of how to dress and how to drive, but also what to anticipate from the local food scene.
Our trips to the farmers’ market are vastly different, as we knew they’d be. Southern California is the land endless bounty, with multiple strawberry seasons and citrus for miles and miles. While I’m ready to embrace Seattle’s growing seasons—we’ve already embraced the rain, thank you very much!—admittedly it’s going to take some time to adjust to a new way of eating. Root vegetables, mushrooms, apples and pears are big sellers at our neighborhood farmers’ market right now. Many of the vendors are selling preserved foods in the form of cheese, salumi, jams, an assortment of dried peppers and fruits and fermented items like kimchi and kombucha.
And this being Seattle, there’s an array of fresher-than-fresh seafood at the farmers’ market, one thing I’ve most looked forward to about moving here. While Los Angeles is a coastal city, to me it never has seemed to be facing oceanward unless surfing was involved. Savoring fresh seafood within sight of the fishing boats meant an excursion to Ventura or Santa Barbara. And having grown up in Tennessee, a full day’s drive from any salt water, I was well into my adulthood before I encountered seafood that didn’t smell like cat food and that hadn’t been heavily breaded and fried into a state of complete and total ick. In spite of my training in culinary school I still approach all seafood with trepidation and mistrust. [the exception to this rule being the time I pulled the fish out of the water myself]
BUT….we’re in Seattle now, so Himself and I selected salmon for our cooking date on Valentine’s weekend. We prepared it en papillote, with each serving nestled into its own parchment wrapping with fresh herbs and lemon slices. Our efforts rewarded us with a smooth blend of rich but bright flavor that banished all thoughts of the dreaded red can.
The meal was so satisfying we picked up an albacore loin at the farmers’ market the following weekend for our next cooking date.
We carved some tuna steaks, coated them in cracked black peppercorns and pan seared them, leaving their interiors warm but underdone. Cracking the peppercorns released their sweetness, not their heat or bitterness. The lemony cream sauce perfectly fused the flavors and textures of the albacore and the peppercorns. Fantastic!
Both were among the freshest and tastiest seafood meals we’ve ever had. Two for two just a week apart. That’s certainly a record for Himself and me.
I predict I’m going to become an increasingly fearless seafood buyer and cooker. Next up—investing in an oyster knife.
Oh yeah. I think Seattle and I are going to get along just fine.