This is farmers market time across the land and like many colleges, the University of Maryland holds a weekly event where area producers bring their fruits, vegetables, baked goods and even meats to the campus at College Park (one stand was selling frozen local farm raised proteins including rabbit and goat).
The school's dining services takes advantage of these events to promote its expertise and the talents of its culinary staff. On a recent Wednesday in early May, UMD chefs took turns creating a series of healthful but easy-to-prepare dishes for market attendees—students, staff and members of the community—and then passing out samples and recipe cards.
UMD has made a concerted effort in recent years to add culinary talent to its campus dining department, hiring a number of chefs from the commercial and hospitality worlds to lend their talents to the foodservice program.
The chefs enjoy the interaction with the community while strutting their stuff, and the events also help bolster the message of healthful and sustainable eating, since many of the ingredients are purposefully drawn from local growers and producers. The department has even started some herb gardens of its own to add a dash of very local "flavor" to dishes served at catered events.
One of the dishes featured was Grillled Panzanella Salad, which includes sliced salami and ciabatta or seminal bread along with plenty of fresh vegetables and herbs for a robust offering.
RECIPE: Grilled Farmer’s Market Panzanella Salad
YIELD: 4 snack-size servings
2 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing or drizzling
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
fresh ground black pepper
3 medium tomatoes, halved
2 large bell peppers (any color), quartered
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 10 oz. loaf ciabatta or semolina bread, halved lengthwise
½ cup torn fresh herbs (basil, mint and/or parsley)
¼ lb. thinly sliced salami, cut into 2” ribbons
1.Preheat grill to medium-high. Make the dressing: Whisk olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ tsp. salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
2.Brush grill with olive oil. Put tomatoes in large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill tomatoes cut-side down until slightly charred, about 2 min. Transfer to a baking sheet.
3.Put scallions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and bread into bite-size pieces; transfer to the bowl. Add herbs, salami, dressing and juices from baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
Recipe: George Gomez, production chef, University of Maryland