Sunday, February 22, 2009

Market Day Part 2

I'm not sure how I missed it, but there is a relatively new stand in the corner of West Side Market called The Olive and The Grape. The original store is located in Mentor.

I am a complete sucker for good oils, vinegars, salts and seasonings, so it wasn't hard to find something here I "needed" pretty quickly.

First I selected a salt free blend called Herbs in Duxelle which combines porcini, shitake, champignon and bolete mushrooms, with shallots, lemon peel, chervil, tarragon, chives and parsley. Smells divine. It's like a fine herbes blend with a mushroom kicker.

This one will be a great delicate seasoning for fish and vegetables.

I also picked up some Ras El Hanout. Described on their site as follows: This Moroccan blend consisting of cloves, allspice, black pepper, mace, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, rosebuds, cumin, white pepper, coriander, nutmeg, saffron, bay leaves and paprika has quite the reputation!; it traditionally means it represents the best spice blend of the shop (note it contains saffron!) and it definitely is one of the best of our shop; today this blend is frequently known as a “Mediterranean curry”, a delicious one, although not hot like most people associate with curries; pairs well with lamb, game, chicken. Fish, tanginess, couscous and Middle Eastern vegetable dishes; when asked how to describe this unique seasoning people say it’s spicy, … yet has a floral fragrance, … yet it is robust, … yet subtle!

I got one of the dipping oils, which we tried last night, but it has a little too much balsamic vinegar in it to make a good bread dipper for my palate or my sister's. I'll probably figure another way to use it because the quality of the oil is excellent.

But I was most excited to see the Fennel Pollen (Angel's Dust). I have never seen it locally. It is far more delicate than fennel seeds, and has a unique, ethereal quality. Hmmm, I'm thinking scallops for dinner.

Stopped by Kate's Fish for some scallops.

This kids, is what fresh fish should look like when you go to the market.

In Ohio you have to trust your fish monger, because we aren't exactly located in a fresh seafood paradise.

We used to be able to get some pretty good local perch, but I'm not sure that a whole lot of Lake Erie fish is making it to the plate anymore.

I have never, ever had a bad product from Kate's. The scallops are 'dry' and are never floating in a phosphate liquid. They are usually absolutely huge. I've had clients rave that they were the best scallops they were ever served, and only so much credit goes to the chef. With scallops you need a good product, good technique in the form of a good sear, and don't overpower the delicate flavor.

And you always get service with a smile. If you go, tell 'em the green lady sent you.

They'll know it was me.

So I made a variation of this Joanne Weir dish from Food & Wine - Seared Scallops with Fennel and Lemon Relish.

I substituted a pinch of fennel pollen for the fennel seeds. It was heavenly.

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