Things to Do

Boulder Farmers' Market, week two: From duck eggs to salmon

Page 2 of 2

Hot coffee and a sugary snack are obligatory on this still-cool morning, and no matter how early you get to the market, there's always a line at the Udi's bakery stand. This morning Udi's is selling a new kind of pastry called a kouign-amman or -- as the vendor dubs it, ignoring the Breton origins -- a Colorado Queen. The thing is truly royal. It looks like a small, tight, squarish cushion and consists of layers of buttery dough folded and re-folded, with a crispy, sugary glaze on the outside. You can get it plain or chocolate, and either way it's delicious. (Also, according to the blogosphere which I consulted later at home, extremely trendy.)

Chef Eric Skokan, owner of the Black Cat and the Bramble and Hare restaurants, makes his first appearance of the year selling baby kale, among other leafy goods. All you have to do at dinnertime is wash the leaves and wilt them briefly -- low to medium heat -- in the water that still sticks to them. Add salt and pepper and a knob of butter. Or saute a sliced clove or two of garlic in olive oil for thirty seconds -- again, low-medium heat -- then add the damp leaves, wilt and season. Skokan also has lacy chervil, often hard to find, that's great with fish or chopped with parsley, tarragon and chives to top an omelette. He looks happy to be back, and he's one of the most generous chefs around, always willing to give detailed cooking advice or tell you how to use that strangely shaped vegetable or odd cut of meat you picked up.

Then there are eggs. When I was little, the farmers I knew took great pride in all the different breeds of chicken they raised. "There's my Lavender Orpington," they'd say proudly, as a bird ambled past. "And that's the Cochin. See the Dorking? She's been around since Roman times." The eggs we bought were equally varied. Then the small farms died out, and we got used to seeing boxes of identical white eggs in the supermarkets. Brown-shelled eggs became fashionable a few years ago, but these were still weeks old, and still from the same crammed, miserable, unhealthy hens. Here at the market, you find cartons of eggs in colors that remind you of Easter: pale khaki, light-blue, brown, speckled and pearly pink. Aaron Rice of Jodar Farm has duck eggs, too -- expensive at $9 a dozen (chicken eggs are $5), but worth it if you're addicted to them. Duck eggs are large and white, with thick shells that require a bit of effort to crack. They contain a lot of omega 3 fatty acids, and are supposedly more nutritious than chicken eggs -- and better for cancer patients. The whites whip up well, and make for fluffier baked goods. Just break one of these beauties into a pan when you get home and see the muscularity of that gold-orange yolk; then taste the egg, note the tongue-caressing velvetiness, and see if you don't get addicted, too.

Keep reading to find out about the salmon and how to cook it.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman