While it may not quite be farmer’s market season in Jackson just yet, it is in other parts of the world. Lucky for me, I got to visit a great one in Charleston, S.C., on a recent trip there. It made me hungry (literally) for summer, which is just around the corner for us.
Every time I go home to Charleston, it is pretty much a food extravaganza. There is a plethora of incredibly fresh seafood options at your disposal. My favorites include blue crab (which we can catch off my dad’s dock), grouper, stone crab claws and amazing shrimp.
But in addition to the seafood, Charleston farmers grow amazing strawberries, corn and other great produce.
Not only are the local farm options plentiful, so is the selection of restaurants in the area. I have my favorites, of course, but there are always new places popping up that I haven’t tried before. Many of the upscale restaurants in Charleston fully embrace the farm-to-table concept. So, when at home, we do a combination of dining in using the ingredients found locally and dining out at some of the best restaurants in the country.
This last trip we tried several new spots. One in particular (The Grocery)was great. The menu highlighted local ingredients and offered southern-style specials. On another lunch outing we went to EVO. I have wanted to try this pizza spot for a couple of years because it was voted one of the best in the country.
My husband and I were meeting someone who got stuck in traffic and was running really late. While we waited we decided to snack on a salad. This decision turned out to be a really good one. I had one of the best salads of my life. It is a dish I will never forget.
The salad itself was fairly simplistic. A couple of good ingredients put together in a way that highlighted each without any one outshining the other.
The bottom of the plate was layered with thinly shaved roasted beets. Then arugula, pine nuts and goat cheese were mixed with a simple lemon vinaigrette and layered on top of the salad. When you ate it all together, the combination was perfection. The pizza that followed was good but the salad will be what I remember from EVO forever.
On my last night in town I decided to take a stab at reconstructing the salad at home. My sister, my friend, Paula, and I all got up early to go to the farmer’s market in town. There, we found local heirloom beets, fresh arugula and goat cheese made only miles away.
I built the salad much the same way with golden and red beets layered on the bottom and the salad on top. It was the perfect accompaniment to the lobster and steak my dad grilled. As soon as the beets around here are harvested, I will be making this again. Save this recipe for summer and make it as much as you can while fresh beets are in season. This would make a great meal on a hot day simply served with fresh bread.