Honestly, is there any better meal than one straight from the garden? Until my parents vegetable garden becomes fruitful, we'll rely on the farmers market. Plus, it's such a great way to spend a lazy Saturday morning! We met my sister and her husband at the Cherry Creek Farmers Market last Saturday to stock up on delicious veggies for our dinner that night.
The recipe was inspired by an Insalata Mista recipe we saw in Wine Spectator. On the list:
oyster or trumpet mushrooms,
and organic chicken breasts.
We steamed a couple of artichokes to munch on before dinner. Then melt a little butter with some Italian herbs and mix up some mayo with Italian salad dressing for 2 different and tasty dips. I saved the hearts to put in the salad.
Insalata Mista means mixed salad in Italian. You can use whatever veggies you want. The key is to use the freshest ingredients possible. Wash them early so they have time to dry off, and don't put them in the refrigerator (until after you've used what you need for the meal.)
Mix together the arugula, leafy greens, sliced mushrooms and asparagus (I roasted the asparagus - drizzled with olive oil and salt - in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes). Toss in the sliced artichoke hearts. Shave fresh Parmesan on top. Dish out salad equally among plates. Place sliced tomatoes along the edge of the plate.
Grilled Chicken Breasts
I grabbed some rosemary from our rosemary bush out back and infused extra virgin olive oil with it for a few hours. I brushed the rosemary/oil over the chicken breasts and seasoned them with a little salt and pepper. Then we grilled them up on the outside grill. Slice up the meat, and divide among salads.
Mix up extra virgin olive oil with fresh squeezed lemon juice (For 4 salads, I used 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice). Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing all over salad and tomatoes.
We added some fresh baked bread from the Italian restaurant down the street (ZaZa's Pizzeria) It's brushed with olive oil, garlic, and herbs de provence.
This meal pairs perfectly with a crisp, white wine - Roero Arneis is a great choice. Dinner was al fresco - it was a perfect Colorado evening. The heat had given way to a fresh, summer breeze.
We just had to top off the night with espressos on the porch...