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there is something about an open air market. live music playing from the sidelines. crepes being cooked on hot griddles. the smell of pizza coming straight out of a mobile wood-fire grill. tulips in every color. dogs. babies in strollers. the laughter of little ones and those not-so-little alike.

i love a farmer’s market. there is just nothing else like it. my brother and sister (in law) were in town and we spent a morning full of unexpected, unfiltered, sunshine traversing the stalls of beautiful, local produce; amazing hand-crafted delights; delicious food and libations like hand-made sodas, hot donuts sizzling before our eyes-dusted with sugar and cinnamon, hot verachi pizza, mouth-watering caramels, heavenly jams; and fresh flowers from all over the state.

but i have to say that my favorite way to spend a sunday morning is to hit the tea shop or bakery, enjoy a cup of tea and a pastry or crepe, and peruse the market.

and if that’s my favorite way to spend a sunday morning, my favorite way to spend a sunday mid-afternoon is to prepare a delicious dinner from all the fabulous things i indulged in at the market. so the five of us (myself, husband, brother and sister in law, and 8 month old) walked the market up and down to see what looked yummy, and pulled a menu out of the stalls.

on our shopping list was wild-caught-never-frozen-alaska-salmon, a medley of hand-picked-dried winter mushrooms, fresh trofie pasta, peak-of-season asparagus, and up the street to cupcake royale for some dessert.

here is our april market dinner menu:

salmon grilled in foil with olive oil, dill and lemon

trofie pasta in a lemon-cream-mushroom sauce

broiled asparagus with lemon and olive-oil

it was simple, but delicious! the salmon was so lovely on its own, it really took very little preparation. my husband and his brother salt-and-peppered the fish and squeezed lemon on it. they drizzled oil and laid lemon slices and dill sprigs on top. they wrapped it in foil and put it in a low grill to cook slowly. we re-hydrated the mushrooms and started a sauce with butter, garlic, onions and lemon zest. we chopped the mushrooms up and sauteed the whole thing, then added it to a cream sauce made of a potato starch roux. my brother in law broiled the asparagus until crispy on the ends. we enjoyed it with a loaf of amazing, crusty bread.

it turned out to be one of the best meals we’d had in a long time. a bit of a splurge for us, but when one buys market fresh and local, it’s pretty hard to go wrong. the food is awesome on its own, and anyone can be a gourmet chef.