Asparagus Frittata with Preserved Lemon, Mint and Feta

Asparagus Fritatta

Asparagus Frittata with Preserved Lemon, Mint and Feta

Yield: 6 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon*, peel only (rinse lemon before chopping)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound asparagus, bottom of stems trimmed, stalks cut on the bias into 1/2 -inch slices, tips kept whole
7 large eggs, whisked with a fork
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 packed tablespoon chiffonade (sliced very thinly) fresh mint leaves

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 325ºF.

2. Set a large, oven-safe, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter, preserved lemon, chopped onion, salt and some pepper.

3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become soft and transparent, about 8 minutes.

4. Add the asparagus stems, stir and let cook for 2 minutes.  Add tips, stir and cook for 1 more minute.

5. Add eggs and sprinkle over feta and the mint evenly. (Shake the pan to distribute the ingredients if needed.) Cook for 30 seconds, then transfer the sauté pan into the oven.

6. Bake, uncovered, for 11 to 13 minutes or until the eggs are just set.

7. Remove the frittata from the oven, slide out onto a cutting board, slice into 6 pieces, and serve.

*You can find preserved lemon at some local grocery stores and at Whole Foods and/or Amazon.

Sweet Cherry Shrub with Fresh Mint (Bevvy)

Sweet Cherry Shrub with Mint

Yield: approximately 2½ cups shrub concentrate

 

1 pound organic sweet cherries, pitted

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest (zested with a microplane)

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

30 medium mint leaves, plus more for garnish

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

 

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on medium-low for 1 minute.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the mixture, pressing on the solids with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible.

Transfer shrub mix into a bottle or jar, close to seal, and store in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.

Serve one part shrub mixture for every four parts sparkling water (or to taste). When serving, add water and ice (if using) first (to a glass). Then slowly stir in the shrub. This helps to reduce any foaminess.

Add a shot of gin or mezcal for a delicious adult beverage.

Garnish with fresh mint.

Vanilla Cherry Clafoutis

It’s still cherry season and I can’t, in good conscience, let you go through the whole season without making my Vanilla Cherry Clafoutis. It’s a French egg based dessert (I may have even, ahem, made it for breakfast) and it’s SO EASY to prepare. Seriously, the hardest part of this recipe is pitting the cherries. (Mainly hard to pit cherries without eating them all). But, if you can get through that – you’re home free and you have something delicious to feast on. This one is straight from my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, in the Spring season/chapter. Now, go forth and Clafoutis!

Cherries

Vanilla Cherry Clafoutis

 

Vanilla Cherry Clafoutis

Yield: 8 servings

 

4 large eggs

4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon), grated on a Microplane

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pint fresh sweet cherries, halved and pits removed (2 cups)

Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Combine the eggs with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar on low speed in a blender for 10 seconds.

Gradually add the flour, lemon zest, salt, vanilla, and milk until well blended, 30 seconds.

Let rest undisturbed for at least 5 minutes. This time allows the flour to absorb the liquid resulting in a better finished texture.

Combine the butter, cherries and the remaining granulated sugar in a medium, oven-safe, non-stick sauté pan, over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes until the cherries are soft and a syrup has formed.

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the sweet, hot cherries (sounds sexy, right?). Transfer the sauté pan into the oven and bake, uncovered, for approximately 15 minutes, or until the crispy brown edges have puffed up and the middle of the clafoutis is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and, using a spatula, slide the clafoutis out onto a cutting board.

Slice and serve on dessert plates dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Note: If you happen to be a bigger fan of orange than lemon, feel free to substitute the zest of 1 large orange (1 tablespoon) for the lemon zest, and substitute 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier for the vanilla extract.

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus

Seeing the first stalks of asparagus at the farmers market means Spring has sprung… and when they start to thin out, it means Summer is on its way. Asparagus is nearly all but gone in Southern California, but I managed to get my hands on some the other day and made this delicious and very quick dinner dish. Here’s to another day of Spring!

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus, Lemon and Ricotta

Yield: 2 servings

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 small shallot, diced small, 2 tablespoons

⅛ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to seasoning

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

½ pound angel hair pasta

½ pound asparagus, bottom of stems trimmed, stalks sliced into1/8-inch rounds, tips kept whole

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 tablespoons whole milk ricotta, drained *

 

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt.

Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”). 30 seconds before pasta is finished, add asparagus to the pot.

After 30 seconds drain the pasta and asparagus, without rinsing, reserving 1/3 cup pasta water.

Return pasta and asparagus to the pot and add the olive oil, parsley and contents of the small bowl. Mix to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta, if needed. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice.

Divide onto plates and top with a dollop of ricotta. Finish the dish with a touch of freshly ground black pepper (over the ricotta) and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

* Have you tried Angelo and Franco ricotta? It is made in downtown LA (they sell it at Whole Foods in Los Angeles). If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it – it’s creamy, thick and the taste is pure heaven!