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Savor the Season

Savor the Season
August 2012
Maria Baldwin mixes up a sustainable late summer salad

The word “sustainability” gets thrown around a lot these days, but one local truly exemplifying the term is Maria Baldwin. The Thornhill Farms agronomist, brains behind online market and community supported agriculture (CSA) share Kitchen Table Cuisine, and owner/chef of Our Local Foods café and market says she’s working to create a culture of high-integrity fare. From the farm to the menu at her Clements Ferry Road market and café, Baldwin and her team incorporate everything seasonal, local, and organic into freshly prepared eats. And her mixed field pea, grilled shrimp, and pepper coulis micro salad is a perfect example.

“In August, field peas ripen as just about everything else in the garden is fading,” says Baldwin, who plants the Sea Island variety that arrived on the Carolina coast with enslaved Africans in the 1600s. Peppers also are thriving, and she uses them to create the salad’s coulis. Charleston’s summer staple—shrimp—rounds out this ultra-Carolina meal.

To wow guests with this savory dish at your next cookout, start by blanching your peas. “Toss them with a thick-cut bacon vinaigrette and set aside,” she says. For the coulis, sauté a diced red pepper, then add wine and chicken stock and allow to reduce. Throw in some sour cream and purée in a blender. As for the shrimp, toss them in olive oil, lemon zest, chili flakes, and salt and pepper to taste and marinate them for an hour. Then grill on a skewer “just until they turn opaque,” she instructs. Plate by stacking the peas atop the micro greens. Add the shrimp and garnish with the coulis for a truly authentic Carolina meal.