spring a leek.

Oh, it’s another grey Monday morning, making it difficult to shake off the weekend and delve into the work week.  I know, we need the rain…but I’d like to stay snuggled under the covers with my dog and play hooky from the real world a little while longer.  I’m sure that many of the vendors were feeling that same way yesterday morning when it was time to haul their produce and goods to market while big, fat drops fell from the sky.  The Grant Park Market is a rain or shine event, and folks turned up in snazzy rubber boots to restock for the week, despite the weather.

Squash dominated the market, represented in all shapes,


and colors.

Jackson Lowe’s squash sat next to these lovely new potatoes.  Yeehaaa!  They also harvested beautiful lettuces

and loads of dill.

I’ve never seen such thick stalks on dill before, nor did I know that it grows with these pom pom flowers.

Very cool.  I’d like to make a chandelier out of those.


and kohlrabi

are still coming out of the ground too, making slaw an easy choice for a midweek side dish- a great accompaniment to a peach barbecued pork tenderloin, if you ask me.

Also at the market, One Screw Loose showcased their handcrafted jellies.

The one that I was most excited about was their Blue Chip Bourbon Jelly Rub.

Made from blueberries picked on Wednesday, I knew I had to slather it on pork ASAP.

Oh, it worked out quite well paired with roasted carrots, grilled Georgia corn, and the cutest little cream cheese biscuits ala Adam Price.

Other market highlights included Prowell’s Pasture’s spread.

I took those bright beets home with me.  I WILL eventually master the art of roasting beet chips.

Cosmos Organics had some pretty peppers

and onions- forever on my list of staples to have on hand in the kitchen.

Le Tre Lune’s produce was varied and interesting as always.

I love listening to Luca talk about his food in his Italian accent.  So passionate and knowledgeable.  And the floppy farmer’s hat he wears completes the picture perfectly.

Crack in the Sidewalk downsized from a wheelbarrow full of turnips last week to a giant barrel full.  The turnip season is dwindling now.  Chris let me taste a green I’d never had before called Purslane.  So lemon-y and surprising!  I added that to my bag of tricks for the week as well.

An expertly baked loaf of H & F bread, Oakleaf’s purple and green basil and a container of Atlanta Fresh’s Greek yogurt rounded out our prizes for the week, which supplemented our amazing share from Jackson Lowe.

My happy place = big bowl of tomatoes on my table sitting right next to a bowl of peaches.  It is a magical time of year.

The meal I’d like to walk you through today spotlights Jackson Lowe’s carrots, leeks, squash, potatoes, and dill.

Pan roasted chicken breast, smothered in caramelized leeks with carrot and squash cakes and a blow-your-mind new potato salad with dill.  We made this dish on Saturday, knowing we’d be hanging at the house for the duration.  None of the steps in this meal is hard, but the leeks need time to practically become buttah and we chilled the potato salad for a bit.  I’ll show you.

I started by trimming and marinating my chicken breasts.

For 4 breasts of chicken:

2 cloves garlic, sliced

juice of a lemon

good couple of glugs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

several sprigs dill

salt and pepper (a good pinch for each piece of chicken)

I massaged the marinade into the chicken and then I let it sit, covered, in the fridge for a couple of hours.  I turned the chicken once during that time.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts don’t boast much of their own flavor, so marinating is an important part of layering complexity into this dish.

Let’s talk about the potato salad.  This is not your run-of-the-mill yellow, grocery store potato salad dripping with sweet, gloppy dressing.  Nope.  This is a whole ‘nother thing.

Start by washing about a pound and half of new potatoes.  Preheat your oven to 475°.

Then slice them into bite-sized chunks. Even chunks make for even cooking.

Place them in a pot of cold water and be sure the potatoes are covered by a couple of inches.

Bring your pot to a boil and then let the potatoes cook about 7 – 10 minutes, until they are just tender.  Then, drain the potatoes into a colander

and heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium high.

Transfer the potatoes carefully to the skillet of hot oil.

Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat the potatoes well.  Then, transfer the pan to the oven and set your timer for 15 minutes, at which point, you will turn the potatoes and continue to roast them another 15 – 30 minutes- until they are crisp and brown.

While the potatoes are cooking, you have time to make your dressing.

1/2 Cup mayonnaise

1 t whole grain mustard

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 rib celery, diced small

several sprigs dill- about a Tablespoon, chopped

2 green stalks of spring onion, chopped

splash of red wine vinegar

drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine your ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

When the potatoes are finished, pull them out of the oven and let them cool slightly.  (Try not to eat them all while they cool.)  When they’re not steaming anymore, go ahead and toss the potatoes in your dressing.

You can totally serve the salad warm like this, or you can chill it for a while and let those flavors mingle…

The leeks bring a sweet succulence to this dish that is super simple to achieve.

You want to only use the white and light green parts for cooking.  The flat, green leaves are an excellent addition to a homemade chicken or vegetable broth.

Next, slice the leeks down the middle lengthwise and then cut them into half moons.

Submerge the leeks in water, cleaning them well.  Then, transfer to a colander to shake out the excess water.  Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium low heat.

Add leeks to the butter, sprinkle with salt, toss to coat, and put a lid on it.

Let those leeks break on down, stirring every now and again.

Give them at least 20 minutes.  But, the longer they cook, the more they taste like sweet candy.  I think I let mine go for almost an hour.

Next up, carrot and squash cakes.  Simple and so delish.

Just shred 1 big or two small squashes (zucchini work here too) and two medium carrots.

Use a clean towel to wring out the excess moisture from the vegetables.  Then place them in a bowl.

Just add 2 rounded teaspoons of flour, a good pinch of salt and pepper, a pinch of granulated onion, and two cloves pressed garlic.  (You can season these up any way you like- curry powder or a Mexican flare would work well here too.)  Use your hands to incorporate the ingredients and let the mixture set for 15 minutes or so before forming your little cakes.

They are like carrot and squash latkes!

Meanwhile, time to cook the chicken.  Remove your chicken from the fridge about 20 – 30 minutes before you want to cook it.  This will take the chill off the meat and prevent it from being shocked in the pan.  Preheat your oven to 350°.  Heat a large oven-safe skillet, with a good layer of olive oil in the bottom, to medium high heat.  Pull your chicken from the marinade, brushing off any stray pieces of herbs or garlic, and place it in the hot pan.  You want to hear a sizzling sound when they hit the pan.

Let the chicken sear without moving it for about 3 minutes, creating a nice golden brown crust on the meat.

Then, flip the chicken and cook another 2 minutes before transferring the pan to the oven.  Allow the chicken to continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° in its thickest part, another 10 – 15 minutes.

While the chicken is in the oven, go ahead and cook off your local veggie latkes.

Heat a large skillet with canola or olive oil to medium low heat and fry the cakes gently to brown them on both sides.

Remove the cooked cakes to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt.

When the chicken is ready, transfer it from the hot pan to a plate and let it rest for about 5 – 7 minutes before serving.

Top the chicken with your caramelized leeks and sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley or dill.

Time to serve it up!

Oh, this meal went down real easy.  The potato salad straight-up disappeared.  Do not invite over too many guests for this dinner if you’re hoping to have any leftovers!  The chicken was juicy and full of flavor from the lemon dill marinade and the luscious leeks on top.  The carrot/squash cakes were sweet and tender, fresh, crisp, and satisfying.  The potato salad was unreal- roasty, tangy, crunchy, and the dill= spectacular.  What a lovely spring meal full of the season’s gifts!

Like I said before, this dinnerl is not at all difficult to prepare, and the amount of time you put in is totally up to you.  Marinate the chicken for one hour or three.  Let the leeks cook for 20 minutes or 45.  Serve that salad warm or cold.  It’s all up to you.  And, of course, you can make any of these components as a complement to something else you’ve dreamed up!

I hope that your week is off to a great start.  I feel much better now that I’ve relived this delectable meal.  I think Monday’s gonna be alright after all.

Let me know which parts of this meal you decide to create, how you make it your own, and how it all turns out.  I’d love to hear your feedback.  Cheers to a fabulous and delicious week ahead.

Happy cooking and eating to you.



Comment w/ Facebook

  1. […] this Ridiculous Potato Salad that Adam and I lovingly put […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *