Cecily Gans, Chef and Owner of the Main Course Catering Company, will have the rapt attention of salad enthusiasts at the Westport Farmers’ Market this Thursday August 4th, as she introduces two new dressings to liven up those farm fresh greens. Starlight’s greens will share the spotlight with Beltane Farm’s goat cheese as she turns to fresh herbs, stone fruits and berries to accentuate the summer theme. Chef Gans describes her favorite cheese vendor’s cheeses as “ a muse for my dressings.” Talk about inspiration springing from one ingredient!
Gans’ two dressings are virtual opposites, with the ASIAN THAI (see recipe below) utilizing Thai Basil and rice vinegar as a base for a spicier salad. The HERBAL DIJON vinaigrette is more of a traditional European combo with seasonal herbs like basil, thyme, lavender and parsley lending the flavors. As always, She will have ANDREW’S HONEY on hand as she tweaks the dressings.
“What I want people to walk away with, from my tastings, is the notion that they can shop at the market from the first day it opens to the last market of the season. They can buy what they like or try something new. Most ingredients will work with the dressings I have presented . It is all about the versatility.”
And for those of you who notice the hardworking student volunteers assisting Chef at the market, they just may be chefs of the future in your favorite restaurant one day. They are all trainees of Chef Gans’ at Staples High School in Westport. The Culinary Arts program there is renowned for inspiring and training young enthusiasts, some of whom go on to study professionally. Watch them and feel proud of our local youth. One is attending Johnson and Wales University in the fall, one will be heading to the Culinary Institute of America, and one is a rising senior who is described by Chef Gans as “phenomenally talented.”
Plenty of excitement and inspiration for sure. See you at the market on Thursday, and as always, try to come early to taste while supply lasts.
Thai Basil Vinaigrette
1 Cup Scallions
1/2 Cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice
½ cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar
3 cups Grapeseed oil
1 cup Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Cup fresh lime juice
2 cups Thai Basil, leaves only
1 cup Cilantro, leaves only
Kosher Salt or Fish Sauce to taste (Kosher salt used for demo item, vegetarian)
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
*Blend with and immersion blender or food processor, use as needed!