Inspiration to cook the California way



The New California Cook

By Diane Rossen Worthington

The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook

By Christopher Hirsheimer and Peggy Knickerbocker

Chronicle Books / 2006 / $22.95

This isn't San Francisco, and the seasons of our produce here in Maryland aren't quite the same as they are in that great West Coast food town. Still, this diminutive paperback - the perfect size to toss in a backpack bound for the farmers' market - can provide inspiration for how to cook those beautiful herbs or interesting new vegetables beckoning you from the stands.

The dish that kept calling to us - Salmon With Lavender-Fennel Salt - turned out to be a slight disappointment, however. The two teaspoons of salt overwhelmed even the assertive flavor of wild salmon.

When we scraped off a bit of the rub and ate leftovers a day later, however, the spices were much more in harmony. Next time, we'll reduce the salt a bit and season the fish lightly rather than "liberally," as the directions state.

Grilled Skirt Steak With Avocado-Tomato Salsa

Serves 6


2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 8 limes)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds skirt steak


1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon (or to taste) store-bought spicy green salsa

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients besides steak in a large, nonaluminum mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning. Place the skirt steak into the bowl, being sure to flatten it out, and turn to coat all sides evenly with marinade. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the salsa, toss together the ingredients in a medium serving bowl. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.

Prepare a grill for medium-heat grilling. Remove the steak and the onion slices from the marinade and grill steak about 3 inches from the heat for 4 to 6 minutes on each side for medium-rare.

Grill the onion slices, making sure they don't fall through the grill, until lightly charred and soft. Arrange steak and onions on a carving platter; thinly slice the meat on the diagonal. Serve with salsa and warmed corn tortillas.

From "The New California Cook"

Per serving: 398 calories, 32 grams protein, 27 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 91 milligrams cholesterol, 344 milligrams sodium

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