Farmers Market Dinner Inspiration

What’s for Dinner?  Get some inspiration at your local Farmer’s Market!  The bounty of veggies and fruits can get your creativity going!

When I am able, I really enjoy heading down to the San Mateo Event Center’s Night Market with friends, cruising through the food trucks and watch the families enjoy the great weather and live music; however, I am always drawn to the farmers on the other side of the ring.  This summer we enjoyed a bounty of berries, asparagus, corn and salad greens.  But now, the produce is transitioning into autumn flavors  and I COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED!  Fall is a special time for me. My favorite holidays are coming — Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I love the crisp cool fall air, how twilight drapes over us earlier… and most of all, I love cooking warm, comforting dishes for dinner.

Dino Kale! Their bumpy leaves resemble the texture of dinosaur skin!

Fennel — oh how I love your sweet licorice taste!

While I was down at the Night Market last Wednesday, I noticed that my two favorite vegetables are coming into season:  fennel and dino kale.  I bought some of each and was inspired to make this dish for dinner the next evening.  I would love to share my recipe with you, which can be made now through the winter.

Dino Kale and Fennel with White Beans

Serves 4

**  The dark green, bumpy leaves of the dino kale, or cavalo Nero (black cabbage in Italian) are savory, pleasantly and slightly bitter and hearty enough to sauté with garlic or add to soup.  I could eat dino kale every day.  Paired with the sweet, licoricey flavor of fennel, it’s a match made in heaven.

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

half a yellow onion, diced

1 medium fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise

4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

pinch red pepper flakes, to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable broth)

1 bunch dino kale, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, optional

In a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and fennel.  Toss to coat the vegetables with oil and cover to sweat, about 8 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

When the onions are translucent and soft, add the garlic and beans.  Sauté until the garlic is fragrant.  Season with salt and pepper, and if desired, add the red pepper and cumin.  Add the chicken stock and the dino kale.  Mix together and cover.  Turn the heat down to simmer and simmer with the cover on for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the kale is tender, remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately with a sprinkling of cheese.

** Note:  I like to stretch my efforts and toss this recipe together with some cooked pasta.  Add a half-pound of cooked pasta to the recipe and toss together for a nice, light meal.

The San Mateo Night Market runs weekly every Wednesday from 4:30 – 8:30pm.  Parking in the Delaware lot is free.  Come down for a unique event combining gourmet food trucks, local farmers and live music.  Check the Night Market’s Facebook Event Page for more information:


About chefterridien

It's a long story.... how about the short version?
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5 Responses to Farmers Market Dinner Inspiration

  1. Wow!

    I’ve not heard of black cabbage before. Is it something that I could use in colcannon?

    • Hey Mike! Thanks for your comment! Though it is called “cavalo nero,” it’s actually related closer to the Chard family of greens. If you want to add it to colcannon, I’d suggest you chop it up and add a few handfuls to the colcannon recipe. :D It would give good color and added texture! Cheers!

  2. this is how i love to cook too! farmers market inspiration. love your farfalle, white beans, and kale!

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