Well, let me qualify that. It's in the upper eighties and we're experiencing stifling humidity this week. But we Texans place our pumpkins on the porch and pray for the occasional cool snap just to keep hope alive. They say we'll have one this week. We'll see.
In the early days of my farmers market and farmstand shopping, I frequently purchased items that caught my fancy, then got home and had no clue how to optimize my selections. Often, they languished until they were tossed. I had the best of intentions, but my follow through was dismal.
It was this repeated experience which encouraged me to utilize my chef demos at the farmers market to help shoppers make the most of their market basket haul. Four times a month, I set out for the Texas Farmers' Markets as their market chef, without a recipe or a menu in mind, scour the stalls for the best farmers and vendors have to offer, and pull together a quick, wholesome seasonal dish on the fly.
This particular dish, a FARMERS MARKET FAVORITE, showcases duck from Belle Vie Farm, vegetables from Johnson's Backyard Garden, and seasonings from Stellar Gourmet, Austin Honey Company, and Hill Country Provisions & Iron.
While these favorite staples are available at local Central Texas markets only, I encourage you to both reach out to the links provided to inquire about mail order availability, and seek farmers, producers, and vendors in your area to support. Buy Local, Eat Local.
Market Chef Maggie Perkins
1 T duck fat
1 package Belle Vie Farm Charles’ Picnic Duck Sausage
1 large sweet potato, sliced in thin rounds
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 small head cabbage, leaves separated
2T Stellar Gourmet Fig Dijon Mustard
1T Austin Honey Co. Pure Honey
Hill Country Provisions & Iron Vaquero Sol seasoning to taste
In a shallow skillet over medium heat, melt duck fat. Brown sausages on each side over medium until golden. Remove from heat and reserve.
Add sweet potatoes to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Sauté slices until slightly crisped, turning frequently. Add scallions to pan and continue to sauté until scallions are limp. Nestle sausages into bed of sweet potatoes and onions, reduce heat to medium, cover with cabbage leaves.
Allow cabbage leaves to steam until limp. Remove to a serving plate. Remove sausage and set aside.
Add mustard and honey to the pan with sweet potatoes and onions. Stir together and allow to simmer with potatoes over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until glazed, stirring frequently. Season with Vaquero Sol, to taste.
Slice duck sausage. Plate sweet potatoes and onions onto the cabbage-lined plate. Nestle sliced sausage into bed of potatoes.
And speaking of cooler weather cooking, check out my drawwwl chatting up food columnist Addie Broyles about biscuits, soups, stews, and GUMBO in the recent I Love You So Much podcast, for the Austin American Statesman. You'll be treated to some of Austin's favorite icons as well. Author Jesse Sublett and Esther's Follies co-founder and performer Shannon Sedwick talk about their new book about the 40-year-old Austin institution, Out & About (Michael Barnes) gives a peak of the new Central Austin Public Library, and Eric Webb chats all things Stranger, season 2. Find it on iTunes, your podcast app of choice, or here on Austin360.
Salad greens are truly at their peak during cooler days of autumn and their peppery herbal finish is complemented by the in-season frutis and vegetables available now. Persimmon gives this salad a sweet, earthy nudge, while fig flavors lend a sweetly acidic note. On Sunday last at Texas Farmers' Market, I tossed together luscious freshly-cut field greens, radishes, scallions, and shaved fennel with a Vanilla Fig Persimmon Dijon dressing that pleased eager market samplers. Check back tomorrow for the details on Notes from Maggie's Farm.