The Farmer’s Table – Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Last Saturday’s trip to the Farmer’s market was a hasty one. I had a busy morning so when I looked up at the clock, I realized that I only had about 20 minutes left before the stalls were to be be packed up for the day. Cloth bag in one hand, my son’s hand in the other, we bolted out the door and headed for the market. When we arrived, some farmer’s had already started to pack their vegetables and fruits into cardboard boxes. Vans with their backs open were strategically parked for easy loading. I decided to head to my favorite stall first. The farmer with the brimmed hat was talking to a customer. As usual, he had a big smile on his face and was in no hurry to leave. Asparagus and bright yellow and green zucchini  were neatly piled on a table as were the last of the June strawberries.New potatoes still smudged with the dark, field soil were spilling out of green cardboard quarts. I decided to buy some thin asparagus spears, zucchini, potatoes and 2 quarts of strawberries. I chatted briefly with the farmer who informed me that the summer sweet corn would make it’s appearance in 2 weeks. I thanked him and quickly moved onto another stall selling peas, mini peppers, plump, purple eggplant and ripe grape tomatoes. Stuffing it all into the bag,I was already thinking of how to use the vegetables and berries. The last stop we made was the “mushroom lady”. I was drawn to the earthy aroma of portobello, button and oyster mushrooms. I  decided to try a pale pink variety of oyster mushroom. The delicate frills of this particular fungi, with its striped gills reminded me of the sea. I figured the simplest way to capture all its flavor was to saute it in butter and grape-seed oil, then finish with a splash of white balsamic vinegar and parsley. This would be delicious on a bed of greens.
When I got home, I sliced some of the vegetables and marinated them in olive oil, salt and pepper. These were to be grilled later. The berries topped up a simple almond sponge cake, served warm with real whipped cream and the mushroom sat on the counter waiting for prep. That evening, we were heading to a friend’s house for dinner so I quickly assembled a grilled vegetable pasta salad to share with everyone.
© 2011 Ann Ivy Male

The Farmer’s Table
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

400 grams cooked spiral pasta
Grilled Vegetables : eggplant,asparagus, red and yellow zucchini, sweet mini yellow and red peppers
Fresh peas
Ripe grape tomatoes
(Optional  : Goat’s Cheese can be added to this salad)

Vinaigrette – Extra Virgin Olive oil, white balsamic vinegar,  Dijon mustard, olive tepenade, chives, fresh basil, salt and cracked black pepper.

Assemble pasta and vegetables in a bowl, toss in vinaigrette and sprinkle with chives and basil.
Serve warm or at room temperature

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