Our go-to farmers’ market stops have the best fall and winter produce for classic (or not so classic) side dishes—all made with vegetables grown nearby. Take advantage of what’s local without breaking the bank (or spending weeks in the kitchen) by following the loose recipes below.
Lacinato Kale from Willie Green’s Organic Farm (Monroe, williegreens.org)
Buy: 1 ½ pounds of lacinato kale
Make: Seattle chef Renee Erickson’s lacinato kale gratin from her cookbook A Boat, A Whale and A Walrus
Available at: Broadway, University District and West Seattle farmers’ markets
Prep time: 15 minutes. Total time:
1 hour 20 minutes. Serves 6–8
Piled high in a gratin dish raw and layered with sharp cheddar cheese, lacinato kale makes a most heavenly gratin—the leaves on the edges get fluttery and crisp, while the center turns into a melting pot of kale, cream and cheese. It’s perfect winter food. If you’d like to make this a bit ahead of time, bake it as directed and let it cool to room temperature a few hours before dinner. Before serving, top the gratin with about ½ cup additional grated sharp cheddar cheese and reheat the gratin in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes, until it is bubbling again.
Note: It’s important to get the tough center ribs out of each kale leaf. I hold the fat end of the stem in one hand, and pull down toward the tip of each leaf with the other hand, stripping the greens off as I go.
3 bunches lacinato kale (about
1 ½ pounds total before trimming), tough ribs removed, chopped into 3-inch sections
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups heavy cream
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, such as Beecher’s Flagship, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pile the kale in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar) baking dish. (It will seem like an overabundance of kale, towering above the pan’s edge, but you want it all.) Season the kale with the nutmeg and the salt and pepper to taste, then carefully drizzle the cream over it. Spread out the cheese slices over the kale.
Place the gratin dish on a baking sheet to catch any cream that drips out as the gratin cooks. Bake the gratin for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cream thickens and the cheese is nicely browned. (Err on the side of golden brown, as opposed to coffee brown, if you’re going to reheat the gratin again before serving.)
Let the gratin cool for a few minutes, then serve.
© 2014 by Renee Erickson. All rights reserved. Excerpted from A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus by permission of Sasquatch Books.
Potatoes from Olsen Farms (Colville, potato1123.blogspot.com)
Buy: Merna Olsen, mother to potato farmer Brent Olsen, recommends Yukon Gold or Desiree potatoes for mashing, Red La Sodas for roasting, Maris Pipers for steaming and Viking Purples for baking. Why Olsen Farms? Because with more than a dozen varieties to choose from, you know you’ll get something interesting. Who knew shopping for potatoes could be so fun?
Make: Easy Dijon potatoes: Mix 1 pound of Olsen Farms’ spud nuts—really teeny-tiny multicolored potatoes—with 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, and roast for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F. (Serves 4, multiply for a crowd.)
Available at: Broadway, University District, Ballard and West Seattle farmers’ markets
Carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce (Sequim, nashsorganicproduce.com)
Buy: Six-inch-long carrots (any color, with the stems) that roast well whole.
Make: Trim the stems from a pound of washed carrots to about an inch. Toss the carrots (no chopping, no peeling) with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ teaspoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon ground cumin. Roast for 25–35 minutes at 400 degrees F until soft, then drizzle with honey to taste before serving. Extra credit for using a pan (think cast iron) previously used to cook bacon. (Serves 4, multiply for a crowd.)
Available at: University District, Ballard and Broadway farmers’ markets
THE TRADITIONAL SIDE
Metropolitan Market’s Yukon Gold MM Mashed Potatoes
If you are short on time, peeling power or the willingness to add as much butter and sour cream as is necessary to make a giant batch of mashed potatoes taste really, really good, buy Metropolitan Market’s Yukon Gold garlicky mashed taters. Metropolitan’s cooks always leave the skins on, and they never run out of butter. $20.97 for a dish that serves 6–8. metropolitan-market.com
Artusi’s Holiday Beet Salad with Gorgonzola Fonduta
Behold a lovely looking roasted beet. It comes crusted with walnuts and garnished with beet green chips—like kale chips, but made with whole beet greens—and swimming in a pale Gorgonzola fonduta. Only, when you slice into it, that plain beet morphs into a beet and puréed beet Napoleon, a striped, stacked pink-on-pink version of itself hidden inside. It’s what would happen if you crossed a ho-hum beet, walnut and blue cheese salad with a Fabergé egg and sent it to college in Italy. Normally, it’s a coveted side served on Artusi’s fall menu, but this year, chef Stuart Lane will take a limited number of takeout orders for pickup on Dec. 22 and 23. Place your order by Dec. 17 to, ahem, beat the crowd. $26 for 2 beet salads; serves 4. Capitol Hill, 1535 14th Ave.; 206.251.7673; artusibar.com. Order by Dec. 17.
THE CROWD PLEASER
Lagana Foods’ Fresh Pasta
For a side dish that makes guests wonder whether you have a talented Italian grandmother hidden in the back room, try Ethan Stowell Restaurants’ freshly made pasta line, Lagana Foods. Our favorite: the radiatore pasta ($6.99), because it holds rich holiday sauces well. Stop for a package at DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, where it will have excellent sauces to match—try the house-made meat sauce. From $6.99 per pound. DeLaurenti at Pike Place Market, 1435 First Ave.; 206.622.0141;
delaurenti.com or laganafoods.com
THE VEGETARIAN SLEEPER
PCC’S Mushroom Polenta Torte
Sold in slices all year at most local PCCs (which now deliver via Instacart), this sexy side dish doubles as a hearty vegetarian main meal. Made with layers of polenta and a luxe cheesy mushroom layer seasoned with sherry cream sauce and fresh parsley, it’s available whole during the holiday season—which means you can reheat, slice and serve a vegetarian masterpiece without breaking a sweat. $7.99 per pound. PCC Natural Markets; pccnaturalmarkets.com or via the delivery service instacart.com
Gnocchi Bar’s Takeout Gnocchi
Gnocchi genius Lisa Nakamura, of Capitol Hill’s Gnocchi Bar, sells take-home portions (12–15 gnocchi per serving) of her fluffy potato pillows. They’re not effort-free, but for $5 per portion, we’re willing to brown them in butter and top them with Parmesan at home, and pretend we made them ourselves. Capitol Hill, 1542 12th Ave.; 206.328.4285; gnocchibarseattle.com
Go back to the main Ultimate Holiday Take-Out Feast article.