Recipe for the Market
Cheryl Cronin ’77 stirs the pot at the Boston Public Market.
Cheryl Cronin ’77 breezes into the Boston Public Market, familiar with every square inch of the mammoth space she now oversees as chief executive officer. She eyes the day’s fresh vegetables and seafood for her own family dinner as she huddles with vendors or their employees to talk business. The UMass Amherst alumna was a foodie and customer of the Boston Public Market (BPM) before taking a leap of faith in January 2016 and switching careers from lawyer to the top job at the market. The nonprofit business has multiple missions: develop a retail environment for locally sourced food, create economic opportunities, and increase access to healthy foods.
Cronin has no regrets. “The market is a happy place, and I don’t mean to sound naive. Some places make you feel good no matter what. I feel that this is that place,” she says. The market, above the Haymarket MBTA subway station, has an old-fashioned look: each vendor has an artisanal, handcrafted sign; the soft lighting and other architectural structures cleverly disguise the cavernous building; and long, thick wooden tables beckon visitors to stop for a bite to eat.
Boston Public MarketPrep time: 14 yearsServes: MillionsIngredients1 community vision of a downtown market for local food
1 Vacant building used to house the vent stacks for Boston's Big Dig
$15 million in public/private funds to convert the building into a marketplace
40 farmers, specialty food producers, butchers, and fishersInstructions
1. Reintegrate public market into Boston
2. Celebrate opening in July 2015
3. Educate about food sources, nutrition, and healthy meals
4. Grow regional food system
5. Exceed first-year sales of $13 million and 1.8 million visitors
Cod Poached in Olive Oil with Garlic-Scape PestoPrep time: 30 minutesServes: 4Ingredients1 bunch garlic scapes
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, diced
½ cup grated hard cheese, like Asiago or Parmesan
⅓ cup nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds all work well)
Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano)
2½ cups olive oil (½ cup for pesto, 2 cups for poaching)
Salt and pepper
2 pounds cod or other white fish, like hake (½ pound per person)Instructions
For the pesto:
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanch garlic scapes for 1 minute, until slightly soft.
2. Using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, pulse scapes, garlic, cheese, nuts, and herbs until well blended. Add ½ cup oil and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
For the fish:
1. Lay the fish in a shallow, ovenproof casserole dish or skillet. Cover fish with a 1⁄8-inch-thick layer of olive oil (about 2 cups), season with salt and any other herb or spice you like.
2. Cook in a 275-degree oven, basting often, until it’s cooked through. For a 1-inch-thick fish fillet, about 30 minutes.
3. Top with garlic-scape pesto and serve over a bed of greens or rice, if you’d like.
Vegan Chocolate Coffee BrowniesPrep time: 50 minutesCooking time: 30 minutesServes: 8Ingredients½ cup freshly brewed coffee (preferably a fruity Kenyan or Ethiopian)
½ cup vegan margarine
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (suggestion: Taza Stone Ground 70%)
1¼ cups brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup safflower oil
½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powderInstructions
1. Preheat oven to 375˚ F and lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix hot coffee, vegan margarine, and bittersweet chocolate until melted.
3. In a small bowl, combine sugar and salt. Add to chocolate mixture. Add the oil and vanilla, mixing to combine.
4. In a separate large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake! Better to leave slightly underdone.
Pickled Radish SaladCourse: Side dishPrep time: 30 minutesServes: 4Ingredients½ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon wildflower honey
½ teaspoon salt 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
A few sprigs of parsley, chopped
½ cup roasted, unsalted almonds slicesInstructions
1. In a medium bowl, combine lime juice, honey, and salt. Add the vegetables and let rest for 30 minutes.
2. Drain radishes and sliced shallot and toss in the parsley. Sprinkle with almonds and serve.
Photo credit (top): Boston Public Market