Fresh to the Table

WE KNOW WE are spoiled when it comes to food choices in Marin County. Summer is an embarrassment of riches at the farmers’ market. A stroll through the aisles is a home cook’s paradise where shoppers stuff their bags with a bounty of locally grown, raised and crafted wares. As if that were not enough, we have a laundry list of exceptional nearby restaurants, helmed by award-winning chefs making magic with ingredients from the very same local markets. So make a guest list and a shopping list, then head to the farmers’ stalls. This weekend you and a few lucky friends can enjoy a homemade chef-inspired dinner in the comfort of your home or backyard. Please turn to page 46 for step-by-step instructions on how to make these dishes.

Kir Real

Copita chef Joanne Weir fell in love with the Kir Royale cocktail in Paris. She couldn’t resist putting a south-of-the-border spin on the classic French beverage at her muchlauded Sausalito restaurant. This refreshing drink is a perfect start to a summer meal.

RESTAURANT: Copita, Sausalito

CHEF: Joanne Weir


Tirosalata Dip, Marinated Olives, Pita

Allstar Organics farmers Marty Jacobson and Janet Brown grow more than 150 varieties of certified organic, specialty and heirloom crops on a 10-acre farm in Nicasio, where their soil enrichment program produces vivid color and intense fragrance and flavor in the vegetables. They produce poblano peppers, an essential ingredient in tirosalata, a tangy feta dip on the menu at chef Heidi Insalata Krahling’s namesake San Anselmo restaurant Insalata’s. The flavorful roasted peppers infuse the creamy blend of cheese and goat’s milk yogurt with smoky heat and peppery flavor, a perfect accompaniment to marinated olives.

RESTAURANT: Insalata’s, San Anslemo

CHEF: Heidi Krahling

MARIN SPOTLIGHT: Allstar Organics

Grilled Sardine, Fava Pesto and Salad with Harissa, Lemon and Mint

Chef Sean O’Toole created this vibrant recipe for his Napa restaurant TORC. His use of bold flavors and farmers’ market ingredients reflect his deep appreciation for locally sourced, artisanal foods and his passion for global influences. Fava leaves (from the fava bean plant) and beans are put to use two ways in pesto and salad, which frames pan-roasted sardines. O’Toole sources his favas from Marin Roots Farm, a certified organic family-run farm founded in 2003 by Jesse Kuhn. All Marin Roots produce is grown in Marin County and sold within an hour’s drive of the farm.


CHEF: Sean O’Toole


Want to make all these yourself? Not to worry! We’ve got the recipes.

Crisp Fingerlings and Charred Broccolini with Fonduta

Award-winning chef Melissa Perello sources potatoes from Marin farmer David Little of Little Organic Farm for this side dish on the menu at Frances, her James Beard–nominated San Francisco restaurant. Little is a third-generation Marin resident who since 1995 has farmed potatoes near Tomales in West Marin. His method of dry-farming potatoes requires no irrigation and yields great flavor, which is amplified by Chef Perello’s uncluttered recipe. The secret to this sublime dish is poaching the potatoes in oil, which lends a buttery flavor without the butter. In fact, once you try this technique you might never go back to water. The infused poaching oil is then used to pan-fry the potatoes and sauté the broccolini. The fonduta is the bling on top of (or in this case under) the vegetables, sure to please vegetarians and carnivores alike.

RESTAURANT: Frances, San Francisco

CHEF: Melissa Perello

MARIN SPOTLIGHT: Little Organic Farm

Roasted Lamb Chermoula with Frisée and Sunflower Seeds

Rising star chef Mark Liberman (AQ Restaurant) sources Fallon Hills Ranch lamb for this robust recipe on the menu at his second Mission District restaurant, TBD, where he sets farm-to-table cuisine on fire — literally — in massive wood-fired ovens. Fallon Hills Ranch is a fifth-generation family ranch in Tomales, led by siblings Shannon, Kevin and Brian. Their 150-year-old farming pedigree includes raising sheep and cattle, milking dairy and harvesting apples, pears, berries and vegetables. Since 1981 they have bred lambs, which has grown to become the foundation of the family business.

RESTAURANT: TBD, San Francisco

CHEF: Mark Liberman

MARIN SPOTLIGHT: Fallon Hills Ranch

Almond Savarin Cake with Strawberries and Cream

Husband-and-wife chef team Evan and Sarah Rich serve a light and airy version of savarin at their Hayes Valley restaurant Rich Table. Savarin cakes are traditionally prepared with yeast and can be time-consuming to make. Chef Sarah Rich prepares her savarin without yeast, yielding a delicate cake that’s redolent of almonds, simple to prepare and perfect for entertaining. She serves the luscious cake with pickled green strawberries and olive oil ice cream. For a homemade version, we brushed a simple orange syrup over the cake and topped it with a dollop of whipped cream and farmers’ market strawberries from County Line Harvest. David Retsky started County Line Harvest on a plot of land straddling the Sonoma-Marin county line before moving over the hill in 2007 to Red Hill Ranch in Marin.

RESTAURANT: Rich Table, San Francisco

CHEF: Sarah Rich

MARIN SPOTLIGHT: County Line Harvest

Lynda Balslev

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food writer, editor and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She authors the nationally syndicated column and blog TasteFood, and co-authored the cookbook Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture (2015 Silver Medal Winner Independent Publisher Awards). She is the 2011 recipient of the Chronicle Books Award (Recipe Writing) to the Symposium for Professional Food Writers, and a 2018 Fellowship Award recipient to the Symposium for Wine Writers at Meadowood, Napa Valley. Lynda’s writing and photography have been recognized by the New York Times Diners Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post and more.