Last week, we visited New Orleans for a few days. We’ve visited before – twice – but not for over 10 years. Some has stayed the same, but a lot has changed. There are new businesses and new homes, and some things are gone, but the same vibe, the same intense spirit is there. It’s a lovely city rich in culture, history, and pride of home. Of course, it’s also a wonderful place to be if you like to eat.
And eat we did. There were po’ boys. Red beans and rice. Fried chicken. Shrimp and grits. Oysters and fried fish. Extravagant dinners with rabbit sausage en croute and smoked duck, and cheap bowls of gumbo. And pralines, of course – I bought enough to take back with me to share with coworkers.
But we also managed to swing by the Crescent City Farmer’s Market while we were there. (Am I the only one who thinks it’s interesting to see farmer’s markets in other cities? Is that weird?) It was a small market, tucked into a corner of the Central Business District. But even in late fall, there was quite a nice selection. There were multiple seafood vendors selling fresh drum, shrimp, crabs, and more. (How I wish we had uber-local seafood, but Dallas doesn’t exactly have an ocean nearby!) I grabbed a few locally canned syrups and jams from different vendors. Another vendor had lovely, vibrant flowers. There were a couple bakeries selling croissants and breads. And of course, there was an array of kale, chard, and other greens, radishes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, and more. I grabbed a bunch of kale, a bunch of bok choy, a bag of satsumas, and a bag of pecans. These would stay good in the refrigerator in our room for the remainder of that day, and traveled home just fine in a small cooler in our car.
So last night, I opted to make a salad using some of these fresh ingredients. The satsumas were so deliciously sweet, and they complimented the slightly bitter kale perfectly. A little crunch from pecans, a bit more sweetness from raisins, and a touch of salty, tangy feta, and I had a simple autumn salad. It wasn’t the same food I was eating in restaurants while I was in New Orleans, but it definitely gave me opportunity to extend the celebration of that wonderful part of the world we’d just visited just a little longer. To me, that’s part of what makes any trip special – being able to recall and celebrate the place, even after you’re gone.
- 1 bunch kale (I used Red Russian, but you can use any variety)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- A pinch or two of kosher salt
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 large or 2 small satsumas, peeled and segmented (you can substitute clementines or mandarin oranges)
- About 15 pecans, shelled (Or about ¼ cup pecan pieces)
- 3 Tbsp raisins
- 3 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
- Tear the kale into small pieces, removing from the stems, and place leaves in a bowl. Discard stems or save for another use (I like to juice mine). Drizzle with olive oil and add salt, and massage kale until all of the leaves are coated with oil. Squeeze lemon juice over and toss. Add segmented satsumas, pecans, raisins and feta and toss again. Taste and add additional salt if needed.