Please welcome Conor Johnson, one of CTbites' summer interns, who will be covering the local Farmers' Markets throughout the 2012 season.
This past Thursday at the Westport Farmers’ Market, the grilling, searing, and sautéing began as they kicked off the season with their first of the many scheduled guest chefs. The first chef featured was Jon Vasst, Executive Chef of The Dressing Room, who awed a sizeable audience as he worked his culinary magic before their hungry eyes. His first of two demos began at 11 am, the second at 1 pm, with upcoming market guest chefs Bill Taibe, of LeFarm and Arik Bensimon, of Napa & Co. in the audince to show their support.
Under a hot summer sun, Vaast carried the shoppers to the sea, with the smell of scallops so fresh you felt like you were at the beach. He began by searing the scallops in grape seed oil for a quick 2-3 minutes to caramelize them, he then gave them a swift flip and added a little lemon thyme for flavor. While this smell wafted through the market drawing a steadily growing crowd, Vaast plated a red and yellow beet and crispy pork belly accompaniment that had been slowly cooking. To top off this summer dish, Vaast made a rhubarb, shallots, and fresh strawberry puree that he spooned generously over the colorful plate. Throughout his demonstration, Vaast spoke with shoppers and vendors, readily answering every inquiry directed his way.
Vaast has recently started purchasing his seafood from The Local Catch, a weekly vendor at the Westport Farmers’ Market and mentioned that had it been later in the summer (when beets are ripe) he would have gotten all his ingredients from the Market. If, sadly you did not get the chance to make it out to the Market this past Thursday and experience Jon Vaast’s delectable dish, he will be serving up exquisite plates featuring seasonal ingredients throughout the summer at The Dressing Room, 27 Powers Court, Westport. So stop by for lunch or dinner and dig in!