Salad Dressed For Fall

When I went to the Lexington Farmers Market this morning at 9:00 AM, it was only because I knew the farmers had already been fending off the below 30 degree weather for a couple of hours, and surely I could go for 15 minutes. Besides, the black (Lacinato) kale cupboard was bare, and I wanted to get a supply for the upcoming week. I cannot remember ever having to chip ice off my car to go to the Market, but that was the scenario this morning. Note to community: As wonderful as the Pavilion is, it is not a covered, heated, protected space, not a shelter for farmers and shoppers in extreme weather.

I didn't take my camera to the Market this morning. The beauty of the lettuces at Elmwood Stock Farm made me wish for one. They also made me wish for an extravagant salad with lots of toppings and warm, bacony, sorghum-y, Bourbon-y dressing. So I brought home some lettuces, and took their picture on the back step.

 Perfect lettuces from Elmwood Stock Farm

Perfect lettuces from Elmwood Stock Farm

The sun warms the southeastern side of our house, and the herbs looked fine. Snip snip: mint, baby fennel fronds, and flat parsley for the salad.

 Campsie mint, originally from beautiful Wayne County

Campsie mint, originally from beautiful Wayne County

Into a saucepan with some Elmwood Stock Farm eggs for hard-boiling, into another with five precious Campsie (home) garden beets, and into a skillet with some of Patrick and Leeta Kennedy's Stone Cross Farm bacon...

 Stone Cross Farm bacon, yummm

Stone Cross Farm bacon, yummm

The washed greens and herbs, the "Walking" onion stems and wine-y sweet Sun Gold and red cherry tomatoes from the garden looked so pretty I took them back outside for a beauty shot.

 The salad raw ingredients

The salad raw ingredients

Once again outside, to shoot the finished salad, complete with Kenny Mattingly's nutty-tasting Norwood cheese: Saturday Market lunch for two.

 The final salad

The final salad

And then there was dressing. Oh yes, indeed. As I near the absolute finish of my book on sorghum, and as fresh sweet sorghum syrup can be had at Good Foods Market and Critchfield Meats, variations on the theme of sorghum vinaigrette swirl in my head. I include a simple vinaigrette recipe in my book, and I am coming under the spell of more complex recipes, like this Sorghum Vinaigrette developed by Ms. Lucy Breathitt, owner of Woodford Gold Sorghum, and published in Edible Louisville's online version. The title demurely omits a mention of the 1/4 cup Woodford Reserve Bourbon in the mixture.

I have never been a Bourbon fan, but I'm beginning to believe Kentucky's Bourbon and its sweet sorghum syrup may have that kind of affinity that we associate with Parmigiano Reggiano and prosciutto. Flavors that grow together go together.

I experimented with a warm, bacon-enriched version of Ms. Lucy's Sorghum Vinaigrette for today's salad, and it was delicious. Some of the REAL chefs around us are developing dressings and other fine new uses for sorghum, and I look forward to learning more from them.

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