Kumquats, Savoy Cabbage and Nut Butters

Try this gourmet lobster pasta recipe that uses farmers market ingredients from chef Pasquale Vericella of Il Cielo restaurant.

Last Christmas I was on a mission to find kumquats. The small, sweet and tart citrus was nowhere to be found. Then it was the start of the Chinese New Year, when kumquats are traditionally eaten for good luck. I still couldn’t find them. Now I’m happy to report that kumquats have finally made their way to the market.

“We should have had kumquats a month ago, but with all of the cold temps and snow they’ve taken forever to ripen,” said Sonny, who runs the J&J Davis stand.

Thus far, J&J Davis is the only vendor to offer kumquats. But Bernard Farms, another citrus farmer at the market, promises to have them next week.

“All of the cold air keeps coming into the valley and the kumquats just won’t ripen,” said Dave Bernard, who runs the stand with his father.

Although I’m quite anxious for spring to arrive, I do accept that winter is still here. This time of year late-winter items are appearing at the market, such as the savoy cabbage from Capay Organic. Savoy cabbage is a tender and sweet cabbage variety. It’s the perfect leaf to make stuffed cabbage and also a key ingredient in Italian minestrone soup, which is perfect for a chilly winter day. Savoy cabbage is also very high in fiber, vitamins and minerals that are proven to have cancer-fighting properties. 

South Central Farmers Cooperative has red Russian kale leaves that are also packed with cancer-preventing vitamins. When sautéed with olive oil—or steamed—the veggie makes a perfect side dish. South Central also has large Chinese rose radishes that will add color and flavor to a salad.

Over at Avila and Sons I discovered a selection of organic nut butters. The vendor has always been my source for dried nuts and fruits, but this time of year they turn their nuts into peanut butter-like spreads. In addition to homemade peanut butter, they make almond butter, walnut butter, pistachio butter, pecan butter and a honey-flavored pecan butter. Try any of these on crusty, multi-grain toast for breakfast and I guarantee you’ll be skipping to the office.

The Beverly Hill Farmers’ Market continues "Farm to Table," inviting local chefs to share recipe ideas for the ingredients they find at the market. Make sure to stop by the information desk to receive free recipe cards. This Sunday there was a tasty pasta recipe from chef Pasquale Vericella of restaurant.

Pappardelle with Lobster and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes:


  • 3 lb. lobster meat
  • One package of pappardelle pasta (other pasta may be used such as fettuccini, penne or linguine)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • white pepper
  • salt
  • 2 small baskets of cherry tomatoes (cut into halves)
  • 1 small basket of cherry tomatoes to make purée of tomato (see directions below)
  • lobster broth reduction
  • white wine
  • fresh parsley
  • lemon


  • Purée of tomato: One small basket of cherry tomatoes (cut in halves), sauté in olive oil and garlic. Add white wine and continue to sauté until tender, then place in a blender or processor and purée until smooth. Set aside until ready to assemble.
  • Heat a large pot of water for pasta.
  • Heat olive oil and garlic in a large sauté pan.
  • Salt and pepper lobster. Add lobster (meat side down) to olive oil, garlic and sauté. Once lobster begins to brown, add the cherry tomatoes. When the juice starts to come out of the tomatoes, mash with the backside of a spoon. Add the tomato purée mixture, lobster stock and white wine and let simmer until all flavors are incorporated.
  • Add fresh pasta to the boiling water for the instructed cooking time on package. Remove pasta from water, drain and add to the lobster sauce pan. Sprinkle fresh parsley and serve with crusted bread. 

I invite you to join me each week as I explore the magical world of the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market. Please feel free to share stories and recipes of the items you also find interesting at the market. If you see me strolling about, please say hello.

See you next week at the market!

Next week at the market: Musical entertainment will be provided in the cafe area of the market, so invite a friend to join you for breakfast.

Note change of date: Healthy Family Farms in Santa Paula, CA, has rescheduled its open house at the farm to March 6. Guests will have the opportunity to tour the farm from 2 p.m. to dusk. Healthy Family encourages people to bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful outdoor nature of the land. More info is available here.

The Beverly Hills Farmers' Market is held every Sunday (rain or shine) from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the 9300 block of Civic Center Drive. There are more than 60 farmers and vendors offering a wide variety of organic and conventional California-grown seasonal fruits and vegetables. There are also prepared food kitchens with menu items to take out or enjoy at the small on-site cafe.

Parking is available on the neighboring side streets or in the garage attached to the City Hall and library. The market supplies free shopping carts to use and they are located there. If you have any stories or recipes from the market that you wish to share, please contact the site editor at mariec@patch.com.

David De Bacco is a writer living and celebrating life in Los Angeles. He has worked for some of the world's most famous chefs and restaurateurs, and along the way he became a little savvy about food and wine. He has published articles and cookbooks for Shibata Publishing Co. in Tokyo and is a contributing writer for Edge Publications. He is also the creator of the Cookin with Mama blog, a meeting place to share recipes from our mothers.


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