This Week @ The Westport Farmer's Market

Liz Rueven

Executive Chef, Erin Hunt, of Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant  in Fairfield, is the guest chef at the Westport Farmers’ Market on June 24 between 10-2. 

Chef Hunt will be offering shoppers cups filled with two chilled  Spanish soups:  tomatillo gazpacho and Valencia gazpacho.  During the warm summer months when local tomatoes are easily accessible and reliably flavorful,  this summer staple  often reappears as a  refreshing, seasonal favorite.  Highlighting the creative variations on this traditional dish, Chef Hunt will blister the tomatillos to bring out the slightly tart flavors of this tomato variety.  These charred, bright green beauties  are then combined with Spanish onion, garlic, shallots, cilantro, a drop of hot sesame oil and a splash of mild, rice vinegar.  The Valencia gazpacho will contrast in color and flavors with its vibrant red hue and use of different herbs and spices. With both versions being offered,  this is a great opportunity to taste and compare.  Note the different flavors of the tomatoes and herbs and then whip it up yourself when the cukes, tomatoes and peppers are abundant at the markets.

Chef Hunt has planted five varieties of heirloom tomatoes in the garden off the terrace of the Fairfield restaurant’s location.  In addition, he is experimenting with different varieties of pumpkins and has planted a large herb bed filled with thyme, basil, verbena, tarragon, rosemary and others. The fence that encloses his garden is the perfect support for the four types of beans which are already happily climbing.

Chef Hunt’s passion for  sourcing and cooking with locally grown ingredients  was realized when he was cooking in a Michelin two star restaurant  in France.  Each season, this  CIA trained chef finds new meaning to seasonality and building relationships with local growers as the quality of the finished product is immeasurably enhanced.

His focus is on allowing the farm fresh ingredients to be prominent in each dish, rather than overwhelming them with complicated preparations.  He has been sourcing from Millstone Farm in Wilton, Cherry Grove Farm in Newtown, Sherwood Farm, Easton and Urban Oaks in New Britain since he assumed his position at Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant.   Hunt looks forward to learning about other local farms when he shops the Westport Farmers’ Market this week.  See ya’ at the market!