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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

kale sausage strata

Whatever holiday traditions you keep—opening gifts on Christmas morning or sleeping till noon on New Year’s Day—chances are you could use at least one great make-ahead breakfast dish in the next few weeks. You’ll need to do your local ingredient shopping this week, as farmers tailgate markets will take a hiatus between Dec. 22 and the first week in January. Two markets will continue through the winter. River Arts District Winter Farmers Market will return to Plēb Urban Winery Jan. 5 and ASAP Farmers Market will reopen at A-B Tech’s Asheville campus on Jan. 8.

For a warm and nourishing casserole you can assemble the day before, you can’t go wrong with a strata. Akin to a savory bread pudding, strata combines milk, eggs, cheese, bread, plus whatever combination of meat and vegetables you want. Roasted broccoli and cauliflower, sautéed greens, mushrooms, breakfast sausage, or bacon are all fantastic options. Scale your recipe as needed using a ratio of two parts torn and toasted bread to one part milk, one part eggs, one part grated cheese, and one part add-ins. Butter a baking dish, then layer in the bread, half of the cheese, and meat or veggies. Beat eggs and milk, flavoring as desired (e.g., mustard, hot sauce, paprika, nutmeg). Pour the mixture over the bread, pressing down to make sure everything is moistened. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for about 40 to 50 minutes, removing the foil halfway through. It’s done when the center is just set.

Dry Ridge Farm is back at ASAP Farmers Market and, in addition to eggs, will be restocked with pork and beef cuts this weekend, including Italian and breakfast sausage. You can also get eggs and sausage from Hickory Nut Gap Farm at North Asheville Tailgate Market. For bread, look for Hominy Farm at North Asheville Tailgate Market, High Top Bread Company at North Asheville and Weaverville markets, Simple Bread at West Asheville and ASAP markets, and Crust Never Sleeps at ASAP Farmers Market. 

Prefer something gluten-free? Tortilla española (or Spanish omelette) is meant to be eaten at room temperature and usually tastes better the next day. In a medium bowl, beat five eggs with a large pinch of salt. Set aside. Peel and thinly slice about a pound of potatoes (gold or russet types will work). Dice an onion. Heat a cup and a half of olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and onions, salting in layers. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, not brown, lifting and turning as they cook. Strain potatoes in a colander placed over a large bowl, reserving olive oil for another use. Add potatoes to eggs and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Wipe out the skillet and heat a tablespoon of olive oil to smoking point. Add the potato and egg mixture and press with a spatula to spread evenly. Lower heat to medium and cook until the tortilla is lightly brown underneath. Using a plate, invert the tortilla and return to the skillet to brown on the other side. You can continue to invert the tortilla several more times to finish cooking in the center, or finish cooking in the oven. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate overnight. 

You can get potatoes from several farms, including Green Toe Ground Farm, Gaining Ground Farm, and Full Sun Farm at North Asheville Tailgate Market and Ten Mile Farm and Green Toe Ground at ASAP Farmers Market. 

At markets now you’ll find plenty of winter greens like kale, collards, and mustards as well as lettuce, turnips, radishes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. Markets are also stocked with rice, pasta, pastries, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region, including holiday and winter hours, in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.

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