So easy! Steam green and white asparagus until tender, cut into short bite-size lengths, toss with rucola, shaved parmigiano, and season with evoo, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with prosciutto.
Obligations for each weekend this month hasn’t allowed us any chance of checking out local asparagus festivals, so what do we do? We celebrate asparagus at home. Serve this outside on a warm sunny day and follow with grilled fish or roasted chicken. A bottle of chilled white wine is not optional!
And if you happen to find yourself with more asparagus than you know what to do with
When I’m feeling vegetarian, I make this asparagus lasagne with ricotta, soy milk bechamel (purchased from a health food store) and mushrooms in between the layers.
It is a versatile vegetable in asian dishes and stir-fries
Still, my favorite way to eat it is with fried eggs, butter, and grated parmigiano.
In our home the traditional Easter lunch has always come and gone without too much fuss, but lucky for us this year, my father-in-law’s caregiver added a special touch to Sunday’s meal. Rosie hails from Romania and it was inevitable that she would include some of her country’s traditions, like these deep red (such a symbolic color, no?) hard-boiled eggs. The egg wraps aren’t anything like I’ve used back in the states but in any case, coloring eggs isn’t an italian custom so it was a delight to admire these all sitting prettily on a plate.
It might be said that too many cooks spoil the broth but our collaborative efforts didn’t give much credence to the old saying. It takes a little planning is all! We did the first course while Rosie took care of the rest, and I’m happy to say that we spared the sacrificial lamb this year. We will eat that lamb when it gets big and fat!
Spring’s first asparagus are beginning to appear in markets which is always a welcome sign. MotH prepared a creamy risotto while I poached eggs and popped open a jar of lumpfish caviar. We are spoiled, no?
Rosie prepared mici (seasoned meat rolls) and sarmale (meat and rice-stuffed cabbage rolls). It amazes me at how many ways there are on stuffing cabbage leaves. Her husband told us that sarmale is even better with an added dollop of thick cream on top, which is precisely what he did while I looked on with big, greedy eyeballs.
Now here I’ve rattled off what we all prepared, but before sitting down to our italo-romanian table, Rosie showed us an Easter game played in her homeland. While one person smacks a hard-boiled egg end-to-end with another player’s egg, he must say Hristos a înviat! (Christ is risen!). The other player then replies Adevarat a înviat! (Truly He is Risen!). The loser is the one whose egg gets cracked, and the winner goes on to challenge another person. I wish we had this game while growing up. I made a quick video (with subs) in which my father-in-law does not get the pronunciation quite right as he was anxious to get on with the main feast!
Cherry season is quickly coming to an end, and even at the feasibile price of 6€/kilo at the supermarket, the only way we’re eating them now is fresh. I had great fun cooking with them earlier in June when we picked up several kilos on the cheap, and I have to say that a freshly baked sweet cherry pie is the best thing to come out of the oven since summer began.
Martha Stewart’s recipe should be doubled for deep dish pie tins.
Pancetta-wrapped asparagus with sweet-savory cherry sauce
This idea is an offshoot from the pancetta-wrapped asparagus with strawberry sauce. Cooking pitted cherries with a small amount of sugar (1 Tbsp to 1 pound of fruit) and a teaspoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary makes a savory/sweet sauce that goes great with bacon or pancetta-wrapped asparagus.
Risotto bianco (plain risotto) with sweet-savory cherry sauce and lardo
The idea of adding cherries to risotto was completely foreign to me until we tried some at a cherry sagra in Piemonte. It was okay as festival fare but what it all boiled down to was plain risotto (risotto bianco) with bits of cherry. It tasted kind of sweet and I didn’t care for the pinkish tinge. After some experimenting, I came up with the ultimate risotto: sweet-savory cherry sauce swirled into plain risotto and garnished with small slices of lardo. The lardo melts into an unctuous richness onto the rice, rendering it wonderfully creamy and adding depth to the overall flavor. Turn a blind eye to the calories and cholesterol – this is so good that I’ll be sharing the recipe.