It's not hard to get inspired to cook when wandering through Pike Place Market. Walk past towering displays of red, ripe berries, and displays of fresh seafood on ice, and your stomach begins to growl at the idea of turning a basketful of goodies into a meal. Turning the pages of Pike Place Market Recipes, a new cookbook from local author Jess Thomson, is inspiring in the same way.
Included in the 130 recipes in this book, are dishes market-area restaurants have become famous for. Things like Le Pichet's salade verte, gold bar brownies from Fran's Chocolates and pulled pork sandwiches from Matt's in the Market. But there are also dozens of original recipes in the book that draw on Thomson's own inspiration from the market since moving to Seattle in 2006. Recipes like potato and pea samosas, inspired by Saffron Spice, a spring frittata using foraged foods like morel mushrooms and ramps, and a Spanish chickpea and chorizo stew using sausages from Uli's.
Most recipes call for ingredients that can be found at markets other than Pike Place. Some things though, like those sausages from Uli's, infused olive oils from Sotto Voce, MarketSpice tea, and dried cherries from Chukar Cherries can only be found at the market. Thomson list sources in the book's appendix and reminds readers that "on the eighth day, God created online shopping," so you can easily get online and buy products straight from the source.
The book is divided into chapters for breakfast, appetizers, soups, sandwiches, salads, side dishes, entrees, snacks, desserts, and drinks. Fish and shellfish recipes dominate the entrée recips, but there are also pork recipes like braised baby back ribs with a chipotle cherry sauce, and other meats such as a roast leg of lamb with a garlicky nettle pesto. And there are vegetarian options such as a berbere chickpea and carrot tagine, and a wild mushroom tagliatelle. Speaking of tagines--those Moroccan cooking vessels; Thomson has included a story about her fantasy-like shopping trip at Sur la Table, the kitchen supply store located at the market. She buys a tagine, and a few armloads of other must-have items. Or does she?
Pike Place Market Recipes isn't just about recipes. The book includes a brief history of the market, profiles of several vendors and people behind the market, like Beecher's Cheese, forager Langdon Cook and Pike Place Fish. There are cooking tips throughout the book as well, like how to use vanilla beans, freeze cookie dough and toast spices. And in addition to the recipes in the book, there are handfuls of "unrecipes" called "10 ways with..." These cover apples, salmon, cheese, charcuterie, and bread. Some point to recipes in the book, but others are one paragraph instructions for making things like the quickest baked salmon, apple blackberry crisp, hot apple rhubarb compote, pepper jack "chips," and homemade croutons. Things you can easily whip up when you find yourself with a basketful of market-fresh ingredients back in your own kitchen.