The Montavilla ‘Hood:
From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper
Featuring Chef Ben Bettinger
As Portland expands and more local businesses emerge, we think it’s as important as ever to support the local community.
Recently, we reached out to chef extraordinaire and Montavilla resident Ben Bettinger to show us what he loves about his neighborhood. Ben is part owner of “Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group”, which includes Laurelhurst Market, La Luna Cafe, Ate-oh-Ate, Reverends BBQ, and Bigs Chicken. He is officially the Executive Chef at Laurelhurst Market as well.
Having recently moved to the East side of Mt. Tabor, Ben often hits up the Montavilla Farmers Market (Sunday 10-2) for all the local produce he needs to create a beautiful dinner for his wife Autumn and son Reed… as well as friends that might stop by. We tasked him with creating a fresh and delicious summer meal that would pair well with our Underwood Rose Bubbles… and oh boy, what a feast he whipped up!
But first, off to the market…
Montavilla Market is one of the smaller local weekend markets but offers many options. For stone fruit alone, Fulton Farms has beautiful peaches and nectarines as does Baird Farms. They also offer lots of activities for the kids, including face painting, which Reed took full advantage of.
Many other vendors, such as Denison Farms & Crooked Furrow Farm offer beautiful peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, onion, herbs, and many other fresh produce options.
Okay, shopping is done, so let’s get to creating some beautiful dishes. I personally lucked out, and since Ben and his wife had friends in town, my wife and I were invited over for a truly outstanding Sunday Dinner with the Bettingers. I will let Ben tell you in his own words what was on the menu and how you can make it for yourselves next weekend!
White Nectarine, Roasted Onion, and Tomato Relish
(Makes 3 cups)
2 White Nectarine, cut small dice
1/2 Sweet Onion, roasted in a cast iron pan with 1 T olive oil until nice and charred on the cut side
1 Jalapeno, cut in half lengthwise and then into half-moons, remove seeds if you are sensitive to spice
1 small Tomato, Cut into a small dice
1 T Chopped Parsley
1 tsp Chopped Tarragon
6 basil leave, chiffonade
3 T Rice wine vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
salt and pepper
Combine all, adjust with honey if the nectarines are not as sweet as you may like.
This relish will be used on the grilled albacore tuna…
Spice Grilled Oregon Albacore Tuna
I chose Albacore tuna because it pairs so well with Rosé and I seasoned the albacore tuna with a spice mix that I refer to as my all-purpose spice mix.
AP Spice mix:
equal parts of the following – I grind all these together in a coffee grinder
Yellow Mustard Seed
Generously coat the fish with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with the Spice mix.
Tuna does best on a hot grill. I love these albacore loins because they are so easy to grill whole and slice for a quick backyard BBQ. Top them generously with the Nectarine, Onion and Tomato Relish.
Heirloom Tomatoes and Grilled Summer Vegetables, Basil and Aged Balsamic
This is a quick and easy dish that can be put together with any summer vegetables that you may get at the farmers market. Tomato season is here so that was a no brainer. For this dish, I sliced the tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices, keeping them raw. I also chose to use Eggplant, Summer Squash, and Onion. These vegetables were coated with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled, arranged over the sliced tomatoes and then drizzled with olive oil, aged balsamic and torn basil leaves.
In this dish, I tried to take the major flavors of a ratatouille and deconstruct it to better enjoy large chunks of the vegetables, as well as mixing fresh with grilled.
(Author’s Note: My wife and I had just harvested a whole garden box full of fingerling potatoes, so we added them to the local bounty.)
Rizzeamer Farms Garden Potatoes with Sautéed Summer Chanterelles, Garlic, and Oregano
I cooked the potatoes in salted water until just tender(easily pierced with a fork), cut the down the middle, then sautéed them in a cast iron pan with olive, salt, and pepper. Add chanterelles to the pan and a touch more olive oil and gently stir them together, re-season, add chopped garlic, oregano and parsley and a hearty squeeze of lemon.
Ben created the menu to pair perfectly with Underwood Rose Bubbles, the best choice for a late-summer dinner.
Grilled Sweet Corn, Seed & Chile Flake Butter, Cilantro Salt
Grilling Corn can be done in many ways. I chose to grill them whole in the husk, then peel back that husk once they fully cooked, this gives the flavor of being grilled without drying out the corn too much.
You can’t have corn without butter so I placed a stick of soft butter in a small mason jar and seasoned it with 1 T sesame seeds, 1 T poppy seeds and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I reserved a few tablespoons of butter and poured it over the soft butter and seeds right before eating.
Photography and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)
Mad kitchen skillz by Ben Bettinger. @benbettinger
Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group:
Montavilla Farmers Market: @montavillamarket