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It was such a treat to welcome local chef and owner of Fà-me Caffe, Chef Ivan O’Farrill to Uptown Saturday. Just in time for Spring, Chef Ivan demonstrated how to make a vibrant, Spring Farmers Salad with fresh ingredients he found around the market. This creation was inspired by the Farmers Salad that can be found on the menu daily at Fà-me that has ever changing ingredients, depending on what is in season and available from local farmers.
First, Chef Ivan explained a tried and true formula he follows for crafting the perfect salad. “Balance is so important in a salad,” Chef Ivan noted. “You want one acidic component, which for us today is local citrus, one mild component, one bitter component, something with fresh flavor, such as mint and one healthy fat.”
Following the fool-proof formula, Chef Ivan combined Mint and Kale from True Garden, Pea Shoots from Arizona Microgreens, Mixed Greens, Avocado, Blood Orange, and Grapefruit from McClendon’s Select, and Heirloom Tomatoes from Abby Lee Farms providing acidity from the citrus, mildness from the Mixed Greens, bitterness from the Kale, freshness from the Mint and the ideal amounts of healthy fats from the Avocados. After chopping and combining all the fresh ingredients, it was time to move on to two other components to a “perfect salad” — “something crunchy” and the a “simple dressing.”
Chef Ivan mentioned we all love a good, crunchy crouton but that sometimes a crouton can distract from a vibrant salad. Instead of tossing croutons in to the mix, Chef Ivan served his salad with toasted Noble Bread Country Loaf on the side, topped with a smear of Crow’s Dairy Peppercorn Chèvre, a drizzle of local Honey from McClendon’s Select and thinly sliced almonds.
Next, Chef Ivan drizzled EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) from Queen Creek Olive Mill, along with remaining juices from the citrus and another drizzle of honey, and tossed the salad together. The key to tossing a salad? “Use your hands!” Chef Ivan shared. Find a fun video on our Instagram of Chef Ivan doing exactly that — using our best instruments!
Lastly, Chef topped the salad with Calendulas (edible flowers) from Farm Club. Chef noted that Calendulas are a great edible flower to use as they “add vibrancy but do not overpower.” Then, it was time to share with Uptown-goers who simply couldn’t get enough! This salad turned out as beautiful as it was tasty (and it was one gorgeous salad!)
Thank you to Chef Ivan for joining us at Uptown Saturday and preparing such a stunning, seasonal dish as well as the students from C-CAP for preparing the Chèvre Crostinis, and True Garden, Arizona Microgreens, McClendon’s Select, Abby Lee Farms, Noble Bread, Crow’s Dairy, Queen Creek Olive Mill and Farm Club for contributing the freshest ingredients. Congratulations to those who picked up gift cards to Fà-me Caffe (enjoy!) — its our favorite way to say thank you for shopping local and supporting the valley’s local chefs. Stay in the know about upcoming demonstrations and events at Uptown by subscribing to our weekly e-mail newsletter and following us on social media (find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.)