Tomato/Dill Salmon & Evesham Wood Pinot Noir – Illahe

Here’s the drill:  ride the bicycle to Kingfield Farmer’s Market after church, try to get everything for dinner, augmented only by the herb/tomato garden, and the simplest of spices.  This time, I am using local sunflower oil, after a suggestion from the MN Locavore – thanks Amy!  One thing I learned: I either need to get a bigger backpack, or be more selective in my purchasing!  Fresh sweet corn is irresistible, but it really takes up a lot of room.

There are always photos I neglect to take.  Today’s regret was that I didn’t get a picture of my loaded backpack; it was stuffed!

Fresh beans, not much else to say

Kohlrabi is a new experience for me

I peeled and sliced the kohlrabi to go into the beans for a grill-roasted vegetable.  Added rosemary & thyme from the garden, and a splash of local sunflower oil

Raw kohlrabi tastes like a broccoli stalk – good!

The salmon preparation was simple, but really beautiful to see.  I started with foil, laid down a bed of fresh dill, then the salmon.  A brushing of sunflower oil, salt & pepper, slices of two kinds of heirloom tomatoes, and more dill on top.  The salmon is from Wild Run Salmon.  They are at Fulton and Kingfield Farmers markets.  I just love the local family connection to wild salmon from Alaska.

The salmon and tomatoes were beautiful and fresh looking in the evening sun

Next up was the “Star Crisp Melon”.  I had never heard of it before, so of course, I had to give it a try.  Perhaps it’s greatest asset is that it fits in the water bottle holder of my backpack.  Try that with a watermelon!  After some online research when I got home, I found this would also be called a Korean Star Melon.  I figured this would be a nice element of dessert.

Star crisp melon – aka “Korean Star”. Fits in the water bottle pocket of your backpack!

The first suggestion I found was to scoop out the pulp and seeds.  I found out later that the pulp and seeds are quite edible and many people enjoy them as part of the melon.  Oh well, there’s always next time.

After I scooped out the seeds, I found that many people like to eat them.

Not shown yet but part of dinner: a sourdough loaf from Sun Street Bakery, and fresh sweet corn from Peter’s Pumpkins.  Pete is one of the most enthusiast growers I have met at the market.  I asked him how the corn was today.  His reply was an enthusiastic “best of the season!”  I told him that he had told me that several weeks ago, when the first full week of corn was available.  He smiled and told me that was the best early corn, but this is the best corn.  I wonder what next week’s corn will be?  Anyway, he was right.

With a salmon preparation such as this, there is no need or ability to turn the fish.  I always worry about getting the salmon done “enough”.  However, when I cook salmon on the grill and turn it, I almost always cook it just a bit too much.  Today, I gauged it perfectly.  It was cooked , but the deepest center was still dark and moist; almost rare.

The trick is to avoid overcooking the salmon – this turned out just right.

This was one of nicest salmon dinners I have ever made.  The bed of fresh dill infused the whole fish with a lovely dill perfume.  The heirloom tomatoes were beautiful and absolutely delicious with the herbs and fish.  As I mentioned, I finally picked the right time to take the fish off the grill.  It was still a bit rare in the center, but so flavorful and moist.  The beans and kohlrabi were a nice side.  The corn really was the best of the season, Pete was right.  The sourdough bread, lightly toasted on the grill gave a satisfying crunch.

One of the best salmon dishes I have ever made!

I almost always rely on Pinot Noir when I cook salmon.  Partly because I like Pinot Noir so much, and partly because it pairs with salmon so nicely.  Today’s choice is a single vineyard wine from Evesham Wood in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  My personal taste in Pinot Noir runs toward the lighter, leaner, elegant side.  If you look around wine shops in Minneapolis you can find Evesham Wood.  I found this one at Pairings in Minnetonka.  As you can see, it is quite translucent, with very pretty garnet tones.

Evesham Wood Illahe Vineyard Pinot Noir – a lovely garnet color in the glass

One of my favorite things about Oregon Pinot Noir is that you often get an earthy, foresty element in addition to the cherry fruit.  Also, the lighter, leaner ones usually offer good acidity.  The Evesham Wood Illahe Vineyard wine delivered on all these counts.  A perfect accompaniment to this meal.

Evesham Wood Pinot Noir’s are light and elegant with a beautiful garnet color.

When it came to dessert, I had to bend my rules a bit for the day.  I had the opportunity to get fresh raspberries while at Kingfield.  But the backpack was already packed, and I wasn’t sure I would need them, so I passed.  The star crisp melon was nice, but it needed a bit of color and some additional fruit flavor.  We had strawberries – from the grocery store (I know!), but they really made the dish beautiful and added some nice red fruit flavor.  A refreshing dessert for a summer night.

A simple dessert of star crisp melon and strawberries

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