The Union Square Greenmarket, is one of NYC's best food markets, open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 8am until 6pm. We visited on a Friday and it was quite simply a visual feast. Madame Zen, who I visited the market with, would have been happy to sketch scenes of the market for hours. There was a really wonderful seasonal bounty of fresh produce and flowers on display, as well as farm house cheeses, breads, jams, wine, ciders, maple syrup and more.
The market is located in one of the city's great public spaces. There was a remarkable diversity of native New Yorker's and tourists enjoying the market on the day we visited. Unlike the hot summer markets of Provence where there is a relaxed seriousness to the shoppers (with food being a national sport in France, there is always a degree of seriousness at the market - the relaxed atmosphere is usually due to the heat), there was an energetic, warm and welcoming atmosphere at the at the Union Square Market. Perhaps it was spring and the promise of summer in the air, or the pervasive aroma and beauty of the springtime peonies.
It was the peonies and the huge array of pickles, of every inclination, which stood out the most for me at the market. I have never seen such a diverse range of pickles, from the classic pickled beets, beans and garlic scrapes to sour, hot and sweet pickled cucumbers.
Inspired by the delicious range of pickles the market, in this post I thought I would share with you a pickle and caper 'salad' which has its orgins in Syros, Greece. While it is called a salad, it is really more of a side dish which is lovely with grilled fish or spring time lamb. You can also spread it on some lovely rustic toasted bread, which you have first rubbed with a clove of garlic as a starter, or light lunch with a green salad. We enjoyed this dip with some lamb chops, which Mr K has stuffed with a mixture of currants, thyme and rosemary before grilling them on the BBQ. A springtime treat indeed.
Dill Pickle and Caper Salad from Syros
4 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
5 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup drained capers
2 small fresh red shallots, finely chopped or grated
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp mayonnaise
4 medium sized dill cucumber pickles, finely chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Capers & chopped pickles to garnish
1. Put the shallots, capers and vinegar in a pestle and mortar and make into a smooth paste.
2. Add the mashed potatoes to a bowl and gradually add the the oil to combine well.
3. Stir this caper paste into the mashed potato mixture.
4. Fold through the mayonnaise, pickles and season to taste.
5. Put into a serving bowl and sprinkle over the chopped capers and pickles.