Chefs Nick Kayser and Nadine Donovan aren't afraid to release the heat, especially when peaches and the Union Station Farmers' Market are involved. This past Saturday they rolled in their own charcoal grill from Vesta and grilled flatbreads topped with the fresh stone fruit during their cooking demo.
"I think Palisade peaches are some of the best in the country, and the season is so short," Donovan explained as she rolled the dough for the flatbread. "They are so versatile and great for sweet and savory foods."
Kayser and Donovan, the corporate chef and pastry chef of Secret Sauce, the culinary group that runs Vesta, Steuben's and Ace Eat Serve, had just finished cooking for a special farmers' market breakfast and were energetically working the crowd. As Kayser used the mandolin to slice the fresh peaches from Ela Family Farm, Donovan broke apart logs of tart goat cheese from Haystack Mountain Cheese.
"The goat cheese adds an acidic balance to give more of a flavor contrast," says Kayser, who also threw in some thin-sliced, house-cured lonza (cured pork loin) from Vesta. "It's a salty match to sweet peach."
To give the savory flatbread a little more sweetness, Kayser drizzled wildflower honey from Highland Honey onto the bubbling bread. Then came the cheese, and finally the peach slices were scattered on top. After removing the flatbreads from the grill, the chefs added emerald green sunflower shoots purchased from Ollin Farms for some bright crunch. As the two chefs teamed up to make this simple yet showy dish, a crowd quickly formed, staying a good distance from the smoky grill.
"This time of year for the farmers' market is absolutely perfect," Kayser told an audience eager to try his creation. "You get some of the fall and stone fruits, foraged mushrooms — you can't go wrong."
Shop the Union Station Farmers' Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday until October 26. Chef's demos happen weekly from 10 to 11 a.m. The next few on the docket include Chase Devitt of Brider on August 17, Christian Graves of Citizen Rail on August 24, and Taylor Drew of LoHi Steakbar on August 31.
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