Last week my friend and fellow Baltimore City resident Fairfax of Pigtown Design and Pigtown Pigout spent a few days visting friends at an estate on Maryland's eastern shore. The estate is on a tidal river near the Chesapeake Bay, has extensive grounds, a beautifully restored 1820s house, and -- the thing I thought sounded the very best of all -- a large kitchen garden tended by a gardener.
The garden is organic and supplies fresh fruit and vegetables for the family and staff, plus more that's frozen or canned for the winter. Hope, the gardener, grows an incredible variety of vegetables including artichokes, and that alone makes her a personal hero of mine. I have heard stories of people who successfully grow artichokes in places like Maryland but this is my first actual sighting of an artichoke grown outside of California.
Fairfax received a bounty of vegetables from the kitchen garden and kindly and generously shared them. I received artichokes, zucchini, new red onions, beautiful small eggplants, and tiny yellow patty-pan squash. We've been enjoying these vegetables all week and one of the things I used the red onions and patty pan squash for was a salad. The cream and vinegar dressing is simple and delicious, and nicely balances the sweetness of the vegetables and the smoked trout.
Salad With Smoked Trout, Baby Squash, and Red Onions
1 head lettuce (I used a red-leafed bibb type)
one to two small pattypan squashes sliced as thinly as possible
1 young red onion (these were like very large, red bulbed scallions) cut into thin ribbons
1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
8 oz. (or so) of smoked trout, broken into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1. Gently whisk the vinegar into the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the dressing seems too thick, whisk in a tiny bit of water to thin it.
2. Toss the vegetables with enough dressing to lightly coat them. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if you need it. Toss the smoked trout on top and serve with additional dressing on the side.
Hope, the amazing grower of artichokes in Maryland and other good things, holding a bunch of her beautiful red onions. (Photograph by Fairfax.)