April in the Kitchen – Grilled Asparagus with Pickled Asparagus and Prosciutto

April in the Kitchen – Grilled Asparagus with Pickled Asparagus and Prosciutto

Juxtaposing grilled and pickled asparagus highlights two sides of this wonderful spring vegetable. On the grill, the asparagus is smoky and meaty. In vinegar, it’s grassy and green with just enough tartness to counter the richness of a slice pf prosciutto. If you topped this with a fried or poached egg, it would make a tasty savory brunch dish.

This recipe is adapted from “The Preservation Kitchen” by Paul Virant.

Grilled Asparagus with Pickled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus with Pickled Asparagus

Grilled and Pickled Asparagus with Prosciutto

  • 6 spears pickled asparagus – commercial or home made (recipe below), thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pickled asparagus pickling liquid
  • 1/4 cup of sliced spring onions, or finely minced shallots, or red onion
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • Either 1/4 cup olive oil or 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 4 generous slices prosciutto
  • 1 cup of loosely packed and chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives and tarragon (optional)
Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus

  1.  Prepare a fire in your grill, preheat a stove top grill pan, or preheat you oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl stir together the pickled asparagus, pickling liquid, onion, and mustard. Whisk in the olive oil or sour cream, add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Rub the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill or roast the asparagus until it is charred at the tips, about 10 minutes.
  4. Spread the slices of prosciutto on either individual plates or a platter.
  5. Arrange the warm asparagus on the prosciutto and top with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle the herbs on top.
  6. Serve each person a slice of proscuitto, some asparagus and sauce.
Grilled Asparagus with Proscuitto and Pickled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus with Proscuitto and Pickled Asparagus

Substituting sour cream for olive oil also makes a delicious variation.

Grilled Asparagus with Pickled Asparagus Sauce

Grilled Asparagus with Pickled Asparagus Sauce

Pickled Asparagus – makes 4 quarts

  • 6 1/2 cups champagne vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 8 sprigs of tarragon or fennel or dill
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 16 cups of asparagus, trimmed
  1. In a pot, bring the vinegar, water, salt and sugar to a boil. Keep hot. In a dry skillet toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, about a min.
  2. Scald 4 quart jars in a large pot of simmering water fitted with a rack for processing the jars. Right before filling, put the jars on the counter. In each jar, place a teaspoon of cumin seeds, 2 sprigs of thyme, and 2 garlic clove halves. Meanwhile, soak the lids in a pan of hot water.
  3. In a large pot of boiling and salted water, blanch the asparagus for 1 minute. Drain the asparagus and pack the stalks into the jars, tips up.
  4. Pour the hot brine over the asparagus, leaving about a 1-inch space from the rim. Check for air pockets and add more brine if necessary. Seal with the lids and screw on the bands.
  5. Place the jars in the pot with the rack and add enough hot water to cover by at least an inch. Bring the water to a boil and process for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water for a few minutes. Remove the jars from the water to a dish cloth on the counter and cool completely.

Please consult a canning book for more details.

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday to party with Angie and friends.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

Pickled Asparagus

Pickled Asparagus

March in the Kitchen – Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Spring Peas

March in the Kitchen – Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Spring Peas

Happy Spring! My thoughts lately have been turning to Easter and the foods that define it, primarily eggs.

My garden has been producing a few handfuls of snap and snow peas, not enough at any one time for a full vegetable side. However the quantity is adequate for a supporting role with another key player, such as stir fried rice, pasta, or eggs. If you have never eaten snap or snow peas on the same day they are picked, you are in for a treat. They are sweet and juicy, nothing like the starchy three-day old peas you find at the grocers. Grab a bag full if you see them at your local farmer’s market and be sure to cook then the same day. With older peas use a trick of my mother’s,  add a pinch of sugar to the pan while cooking them. You could also use frozen regular peas. This is the perfect dish to serve at a spring brunch.

If you are lucky enough to have your own chickens, this dish is star quality. For years we had backyard chickens and the eggs were amazing, with bright orange yolks. Unfortunately, to our great sadness, the last one died about six years ago. She was 12 which is a very advanced age for a chicken. Atlas (that was her name) was a pet and hadn’t laid an egg in years, but she would follow me around the garden happily eating any insects or slugs I discovered while gardening. One day I hope to have chickens again, we were the number one tourist stop in the neighborhood.

Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Spring Peas (serves 4)

  • 2 cups snap and/or snow peas, stringed, rinsed, and sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt plus more for the eggs
  • 9-10 eggs (preferably organic and pastured)
  • 1 tablespoon of water or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • Additional salt and pepper as needed
  1.  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. When it stops foaming, add the peas to the pan. Saute for 2 minutes or until bright green.
  3. Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in a bowl with a tablespoon of water or heavy cream. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Add the eggs to the skillet with the peas, sprinkle with the goat cheese, and turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Gently cook the eggs, pushing the eggs around in the pan until large curds form. Don’t hurry this process or over stir the eggs. Cook to your liking (my family likes soft curds but your own might like the eggs cooked longer) this took about 5 minutes.

Serve with buttered sourdough toast.

Sam - son of Priscilla

Sam – son of Priscilla

 

Scrambled eggs with goat cheese and spring peas

Scrambled eggs with goat cheese and spring peas

October in the kitchen – Hot Green Chili Spread

October in the kitchen – Hot Green Chili Spread

IMG_0133

The Saturday farmer’s market down the street from me in Oakland has been bursting with produce. They still have an abundance of vegetables I consider the product of high summer such as summer squash, peppers, basil, and tomatoes. But, in addition, the stalls are filling with bright colored winter squash and pumpkins. The colors are intoxicating. I couldn’t resist buying a bunch of different peppers to make a recipe I saw on-line for Hot Green Chili Sauce. This sauce is thick and spreadable, not watery at all. I’m thinking of using it with scrambled eggs this coming Sunday morning, on a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch this week, and with tostadas for dinner on Tuesday night. This sauce could quickly become a staple at our house! I plan to make a large batch next weekend and stock it in the freezer for the middle of winter.

The following is adapted from a recipe on the blog “Tasty Plan”. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you should do so. They have the most amazing photographs; I’d like to literally eat the screen of my computer!

Feel free to change this recipe to match the peppers you have on hand, or may still have in your garden. Ideally you want a mix with hot peppers and sweet peppers. But, there is no reason you couldn’t use mostly sweet. The mix of flavors from a variety of peppers is what makes this sauce interesting.

Hot Green Chili Spread (makes about 2 cups)

Hot Green Chili Spread

Hot Green Chili Spread

  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 10 shishito peppers
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 1 anaheim pepper
  • 5 small green, yellow or red sweet peppers – mix is fine
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt – kosher or sea
  • 2 cups of cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

Wash and dry the peppers. Cut off the stems and remove the seeds. If you have sensitive skin you may want to consider wearing gloves while you handle the hot ones; be careful not to touch your eyes. Slice the peppers and garlic thinly.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a skillet. When hot, add the peppers, garlic and about a teaspoon of salt. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until the peppers are just beginning to soften, you want to keep some of the freshness of the chilies and garlic. Add the sugar and vinegar to the pan, then the cilantro; remove the pan from the heat.

Put the contents of the skillet into a food processor and pulse until smooth. IMG_0136

Although smooth-ish, my food processor doesn’t produce an entirely smooth puree. That’s ok, a little texture is nice.

Brunch - Scrambled eggs with kale, sausage, parmesan and Hot Green Chili Spread

Brunch – Scrambled eggs with kale, sausage, parmesan and Hot Green Chili Spread

See my next post for Tostadas Three Ways with Hot Green Chili Spread.