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Posts tagged ‘asparagus’

First Day Of Spring, Vernal Equinox

It was such a weird winter, unusually warm for long periods of time, then bitter cold, recently a snowpocolypse that was more hype than snow accumulation, but it’s finally here, the first day of Spring.  It’s still pretty cold and there is snow and ice on the ground and its official now, we have moved on winter is a thing of the past. For several weeks now I have noticed the crocus bloom, buds coming on the tree’s, the daffodils in my yard will be blooming soon and again this year my chives have returned, I had no idea chives were so resilient.  Going to the farmers markets will yield a plethora of produce and although I am not a warm weather person however,  I do love spring and summer fruit and vegetables, can’t wait for the berries and plums and peaches.

It is rare that I post several days in a row but to honor this day I made soup using spring vegetables, a light and delicate soup using asparagus and leeks. So simple and quick to prepare. So to celebrate the first day of Spring I give you soup that is a lovely shade of green and screams spring. The ingredients are few, no spicing except for salt and pepper this soup is an homage to the beauty of fresh spring asapargus and the delicate flavor of a young leek.

I wish you all a wonderful first day of Spring or if you are in another hemisphere a wonderful first day of Fall.

ready to roast

Pureéd Asparagus and leek soup

Serves 2 or more depending on serving size

1 bunch asparagus cleaned and tough parts snapped off

1 medium size leek cleaned well using only the white and light green parts

3 cups broth of your choice or water

salt, pepper

olive oil to drizzle on vegetables before roasting

1-2 tbs butter (optional)

splash of heavy cream (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degree’s, line sheet pan with parchment. Layer your clean vegetables on the pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, you don’t want them to brown only to develop that lovely deep flavor that happens when vegetables are roasted. Remove from oven and place the vegetables in a medium size saucepan.

Add the broth or water and bring to a boil, turn to low heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool in the pot for approximately 30 minutes. Using tongs place the vegetables in the blender and add a cup of broth. Pureé until desired consistency. Add back to the saucepan with a little more broth if you like your soup on the thin side, season with salt and pepper if needed, add the butter and cream and on low heat cook until it reaches the desired temperature.

Garnish with creme fraiche and chives.

A little peek at whats in store soon.

Re-Purposing Leftovers-Salmon,Asparagus And Whole Wheat Pappardelle

A Bowl of pasta

bowl of pasta

I refuse to waste food and love re-purposing leftovers. It’s a challenge to try to come up with a creative and delicious dish that puts a fresh spin on your leftover food. I had a small piece of salmon and a few stalks of asparagus left over from dinner the other night, I also have some whole wheat pappardelle in the pantry that I bought (by accident) and need to start using (not a fan of whole wheat pasta). This dish came together in a flash and was really delicious, all I did was saute some shallot in a little olive oil, add a little white wine, then some heavy cream, a little dijon mustard, lemon zest, salt and pepper and reduced until it started to thicken. At the end I added the asparagus and salmon and the cooked pappardelle. This is not the type of dish that needs precise measuring, I basically ad libbed, a little of this and that until it came together. Use what you have, peas come to mind, chicken, or without any meat or fish. The pasta in the cream sauce with vegetables is wonderful on it’s own.

The amounts are approximate

Serves 1-2

1 lobe of a shallot chopped

Olive oil for pan

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp lemon zest

salt and pepper to taste

1 small salmon fillet

4 stalks asparagus

Pappardelle (small handful)

Fill large pan with water add salt and bring to a rolling boil. Heat olive oil in pan, add the shallot and saute until translucent. Add the wine and reduce by half. Now add the cream, dijon,lemon zest, salt and pepper and cook until it’s reduced by half. It should be nicely thick. While the cream sauce is reducing add the pasta to the boiling water, now I used whole wheat pappardelle, it took a good 10 minutes for an al dente pasta.

When the cream sauce is reduced add the asparagus and salmon, toss in the pappardelle and gently stir until it is coated with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Featured Recipe-Roasted Asparagus Sandwich With Pickled Onion,Bacon and Hard Cooked Egg Dressing

This amazing recipe is from Jenny aka gingerroot her cooks name on food52, she is a very talented cook, art educator, foodscaper and Mom to two gorgeous children and she is lucky enough to live in Hawaii, her recipes are stunning, expertly seasoned, paired and prepared. This sandwich is so delicious, I made it for the first time on Sunday and each ingredient fits with the other like a glove. I used flat bread rather than a baguette, no matter what kind of bread you use the ingredients speak for themselves. I think this would be an excellent sandwich to pack for lunch. Jenny will have several recipes published in the food52 cookbook coming out in October of this year, you might want to try her Late Night Coffee Brined Chicken, or her Roasted Carrot Harissa And Creme Fraiche Crostini, there are so many great recipes,  and like me you will want to make them all, you can view her 112 recipes on Food52. Don’t overlook her fabulous drinks either, my new winter staple is her Dirty Chai Toddy and I plan on trying it on ice this summer, its just that good!

Serves 1

1 6 inch baguette

4 asparagus spears, washed woody ends broken off

2 slices thick bacon

3-4 sprigs Italian parsley

olive oil for drizzling

sea salt

For the hard cooked egg spread

1 hard cooked egg (see note about cooking egg)2

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp capers,drained, finely chopped

Squeeze of a small meyer lemon wedge (about 1 1/2 tsp)

freshly ground black pepper

For the pickled onions/leeks

1 cup negi onion or baby leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

6 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon  kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon dill seed

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns

1 small hot dried chile, such as chile de Arbol, trimmed, seeds removed

PICKLE THE ONIONS AT LEAST 1 DAY AHEAD: Place thinly sliced negi or baby leeks in a heatproof container with a tight-fitting lid. Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush seeds, peppercorns and chile. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Add crushed spice mixture. Bring to a boil, cook for two minutes. Pour hot mixture over onions. Cover and refrigerate at least one day, up to two days. Note: This makes enough onions for at least two sandwiches.

WHEN READY TO ASSEMBLE SANDWICH: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Place asparagus on foil; drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Roast for 10 minutes, shaking pan once halfway. Asparagus are finished when they are fragrant, slightly wrinkled, but still juicy. Set pan aside to cool.

Meanwhile, toast baguette in a dry pan over medium low heat or in a toaster


Make hard-cooked dressing by slicing egg in half and removing yolk. Grate yolk into a small bowl. Finely chop cooked white and add to bowl. Add olive oil, chopped capers, lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Mixture should have an egg salad consistency. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.Place bacon in a cool, dry skillet and cook over medium heat until golden crisp and fat is rendered. Remove from pan and allow pieces to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Lay toasted baguette halves on a plate. Spread hard cooked egg dressing on one half. Top with parsley sprigs, breaking to fit bread if necessary. On the other piece of baguette, break bacon slices to fit bread. Add a generous quarter cup of drained pickled onions. Top with roasted asparagus. Carefully put sandwich together, pressing down slightly. Cut in half and enjoy immediately.