There are few things better than spending a beautiful Spring day playing in the dirt, but Pike Nurseries added to the fun by teaming up with Concentric Restaurant Group to create a one-of-a-kind, gardener-meets-foodie experience.
This Garden to Table Chef Event was held at all Atlanta-area Pike Nurseries and featured presentations by gardening associates from Pike Nurseries on vegetables and herbs and how to plant them. These instructional sessions were followed by cooking demonstrations by local chefs from Concentrics Restaurants like One Midtown Kitchen, The Spence, and Room at Twelve.
Under a hot Spring sun, Cameron Thompson, Executive Chef of popular Midtown restaurant TWO urban licks, prepared his signature Yellow Tomato and Watermelon Salad at Pike Nurseries’ Lindbergh location. Even in the mid-day sun while wearing a black chef uniform, he looked as cool as his salad as he showed on-lookers how to emulsify a chili vinaigrette. He then demonstrated his technique for slicing and preparing fresh zucchini carpaccio. Both recipes are perfect for warm-weather antipasti or summer salads.
3 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
Freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Mint leaves, finely julienned
Using a mandolin, slice the zucchini squash into thin rounds. Place zucchini slices in a bowl and lightly salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Mix very gently, just enough to coat each zucchini slice, and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Once softened, remove each slice and lay it gently on the serving plate, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle a bit of grated Parmesan over the zucchini and garnish with julienned mint leaves.
5 oz. Ancho chilies, toasted and ground
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
Up to 1 cup water
Place chili pepper and sugar in a blender and blend together. Add vinegar, mustard and salt with a ¼ cup of the water and blend to mix. With the blender running slowly add oil and another ½ cup of the water until fully incorporated. Check the dressing; it should have the consistency of Heinz 57 sauce. If the dressing is too thick, slowly add the remaining water until the right consistency is achieved.
Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Chili Vinaigrette:
2 cup yellow tomato, diced
2 cup watermelon, diced
Chili vinaigrette (recipe above)
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh mint leaves, julienned
Place diced tomatoes and watermelon in a mixing bowl, then add ½ cup of chili vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add more dressing as needed (or desired) to coat well. Top the salad with crumbled feta cheese and julienned mint leaves.
With these amazing recipes it should be easy to enjoy the fresh fruits of Spring!