Fresh Recipes for a New Year

Diane Claughton Ocean Springs Fresh Market

  This salad uses seasonal local ingredients that are available now at Ocean Springs Fresh Market. As the seasons change (a hardly noticeable phenomenon along the Gulf Coast) other fresh salad ingredients can be used; such as substituting fresh strawberries, blueberries or watermelonfor the satsumas and adding cucumbers etc. This is excellent on its own as a light lunch or, for a more substantial main course, serve with shrimp, crabcakes, baked ham or, for vegetarians, black bean cakes. For vegans, omit the goat cheese and the cream in the salad dressing.

  • 1 bag mixed leafy salad greens or baby romaine lettuce.
  • 2 or 3 satsumas 6 ozs goat cheese, either regular or feta style.
  • 1/2 cup honey roasted pecans (recipe below)
  • Honey - lemon salad dressing (recipe below)

    Wash and dry the salad greens and place on a large platter. Peel and segment the oranges and add to the greens. If using the regular goat cheese, slice into rounds or, if using the feta style cheese, cut into cubes. Arrange on the salad. Scatter over the honey roasted pecans and dress with the honey - lemon dressing. Serves 4 - 6   

                                                   HONEY ROASTED PECANS
    Whisk together equal quantities olive oil and honey, (quantities depend on the amount of nuts you wish to roast) then season with sea salt and a little cayenne pepper to taste. Pour over pecans, toss to coat, then roast in the oven at 375F for 10-15 mins, turning halfway through until golden. Leave to cool before serving. This also works well with walnuts, almonds and cashews, or use a mixture of nuts. 

                                                   TANGY SALAD DRESSING
    Whisk together 6 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard and 1 tbsp honey. Season and toss over crisp salad leaves. For a creamier dressing, add a little heavy whipping cream, sour cream or creme fraiche    

                                                    TOMATOES PROVENCAL
    Ideal as side dish, these easy-to-prepare tomatoes can be served either warm or at room temperature. Stuffed with a simple mix of breadcrumbs, finely minced garlic and chopped parsley and then drizzled olive oil, they look as good as they taste. 6 medium Mississippi grown tomatoes Sea salt, to taste Ground pepper, to taste 1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 1 1/2  cups unseasoned home made breadcrumbs or panko, (Japanese-style breadcrumbs) 6 medium cloves of garlic, finely minced 1/3 - 1/2  cup olive oil Preheat oven to 375 F. Wash tomatoes and cut in half. Place, cut side up, in a shallow casserole dish just big enough to contain the tomatoes. Wash the parsley and dry well. Chop finely. In a large mixing bowl, toss parsley, breadcrumbs and minced garlic together. Add 2 pinches of salt and some fresh pepper. Add enough olive oil to make a moist mixture. Using a spoon, top the tomatoes with the breadcrumb mix, mounding it slightly. Cook for about 20 minutes or until lightly brown on the top and heated through. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 

    Instead of using regular tomatoes, stuff cherry tomatoes and use as a garnish for steaks and chops. Substitute other fresh herbs for the parsley such as rosemary or basil, or use a mixture of fresh herbs. Add grated Parmesan or Romano cheese to the breadcrumb mixture before stuffing the tomatoes, or sprinkle cheese over the top after stuffing, but before baking. Any good bakery-style bread can be used to make breadcrumbs and is a good way of using up stale bread. Either use the blender or food processor, or dry thick slices of stale bread in a low oven, cool and place in a large sealable freezer bag. Place the bag on a chopping board and beat with a rolling pin or meat mallet until the dried bread breaks down into coarse crumbs. Any left over breadcrumbs can be frozen and used to coat meat or fish. Any leftovers can be reheated, or chopped up and added to bought pasta sauce to freshen up the taste; or mixed with ricotta or goat cheese and used in homemade lasagna. If you really get ambitious, you can use it to stuff home made ravioli.