Sara Foster

Story Farm
November 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0-9905205-7-3

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Sara Foster is the owner of Foster’s Market, a gourmet restaurant and store in Durham, North Carolina, that has been a source for fresh, local food for 25 years. She is the author of many cookbooks, including Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen, and has been featured in publications including Southern Living and Bon Appétit. She has also been a frequent guest on Martha Stewart Living Television and NBC’s Today show.

With 157 recipes and 125-plus photographs, FOSTER’S MARKET FAVORITES shares the dishes that have kept diners coming back to the beloved Durham, North Carolina, eatery that Sara Foster opened in 1990. She continues the tradition of soulful yet simple, seasonally inspired cooking, where tradition meets modern. These fresh, satisfying creations are casual enough for everyday family meals, but special enough to serve friends and guests.

Grouper Pot Roast with Caramelized Onions
and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

Serves 6 to 8

Grouper Pot roast

I often make this roast when my sister, Judy, visits because she pines for fresh fish in landlocked Tennessee, where she lives. With caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes, it has the same depth and complex flavors that make a pot roast like our mother made irresistible, but with the lighter quality of fish. I use grouper because it’s readily available in North Carolina, but rely on what’s in season near you, as long as it is sturdy (about one inch thick). Halibut and cod also work well. 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 (21⁄2- to 3-pound) skinless grouper fillet (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1⁄2 pint (1 cup) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling hot. Add the onion and thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the skillet, discarding the thyme sprigs, and set aside.

Add the butter and remaining olive oil to the skillet in which the onions were cooked and heat until sizzling hot over medium high heat. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper to taste and slide into the skillet flesh side down. Scatter the tomatoes around the edges of the skillet and fish. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the fish, undisturbed, until it becomes golden in places and lifts easily from the pan, about 4 minutes (longer if it’s sticking). Gently stir the tomatoes occasionally so they cook on all sides. Flip the fish over and turn off the heat. Add the wine and scrape up any bits stuck to the skillet around the fish. Spoon the onions on top of and around the fish.

Place the fish in the oven and bake until flaky but not dry, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter and spoon the tomatoes, onions and broth over it. Sprinkle with parsley and basil and serve warm.

In the Kitchen

There’s no need for special pans. To prevent meats from sticking, simply heat your vessel until it is sizzling hot— meaning, you can actually hear a sizzle when the protein hits the pan. After adding, let it cook for 4 to 5 minutes, resisting the urge to flip. If it sticks, it’s not ready to turn. You’ll know it’s ready once it releases easily—same if you are using a grill or grill pan.

Herb and Onion Flatbread

Makes four (10- to 12-inch) flatbreads


I have my sister to thank for this crispy flatbread. She used to make it at the Market when we first opened and nobody could get enough. Stock up: once baked, the bread freezes well and can be popped in the oven to warm for unexpected guests. To finish, top with fresh herbs and sweet red onions—or whatever else you have on hand. 

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 (1⁄4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup cornmeal
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and set aside in a warm place to proof until doubled in size and light and airy, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and stir to mix.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and kosher salt and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, add the water-yeast mixture and stir to combine thoroughly until it forms soft dough. Turn to coat in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size and forms a soft dough, about 1 hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Punch the dough down, divide into 4 pieces, form into flat, round disks and let rest, about 10 minutes. Dust a piece of parchment or wax paper with flour and cornmeal and roll each piece of flatbread into an oval about 10 inches long. Top with thin slices of red onion and herb leaves, brush with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Place in the oven to bake until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm.

On the Menu

Keep it simple or go all out. Here are a few extras I’m prone to throw on this dough, depending on what’s in season: thinly sliced zucchini or yellow squash, green or red peppers, eggplant, plum tomatoes, scallions, sweet or red potatoes, spinach or kale leaves.


These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from FOSTER’S MARKET FAVORITES by Sara Foster.
(Story Farm, November 2015; $30/hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-9905205-7-3).

Contact: Jill Browning PR


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