Asparagus with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Prosciutto (4)

FullSizeRender(46)

Perfect for an appetizer, light lunch or quickly assembled for a picnic this is a bit of a riff on ‘Asparagus Mimosa’, where hard boiled eggs are pushed through a sieve and placed atop spears of asparagus.  I took thin, baby asparagus spears in season, cooked them until just ‘al dente’ and sprinkled chopped, hard-boiled eggs and thin, crispy strips of prosciutto over the asparagus. I served it with an apple cider vinaigrette.

8 oz baby asparagus spears

2 eggs – hard boiled

3 slices of prosciutto – cut into fine strips and fried till crispish

Place asparagus spears in a skillet and cover with boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for only a couple of minutes (prick with a fork to see if they are just nicely tender) then drain and run cold water over them till they are cool to prevent any more cooking or, if you prefer cover with cold water and add some ice cubes.

When spears are cool put them in a clean, dry T-towel, pat dry and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle over the chopped boiled egg and the crispy prosciutto.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Mix mustard and vinegar together until smooth. Add oil and whisk until emulsified.

 

Cauliflower Tabbouleh (4)

fullsizerender28

Cauliflower is in vogue at the moment popping up as cauliflower rice, cauliflower steaks and even as cauliflower tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a popular middle eastern vegan and vegetarian dish.  It seems that people have their own take on the recipe but the basic ingredients are bulgur wheat, tomatoes, parsley, mint, onion, oil and lemon juice. I replaced the bulgur wheat with cauliflower (finely processed in the food processor) and I added cucumber, garlic and feta cheese. I imagine that this would make a good packed lunch.

8 oz. cauliflower – cut into florets

4 oz. plum tomatoes – cut into very small pieces

2 oz. English cucumber – cut into very small pieces

1 oz. red onion – cut into very small pieces

1 oz. feta cheese – cut into very small pieces

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 clove of garlic – grated

1 tbsp. mint – finely chopped

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process cauliflower florets in food processor then place in a large mixing bowl.

Add chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion and feta cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice and grated garlic and pour over the cauliflower mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir well.

 

 

 

Chicken, Arugula, Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Mustard and Anchovy Dressing (4)

fullsizerender12

I love this salad!  There are lots of textures and flavors, none of which dominate the other and they seem to complement each other too. I poached the chicken in my usual way which gives the chicken more flavor (place chicken on aluminum foil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle over 1 tbsp. olive oil and juice of half a lemon and cook for half an hour). When making a dressing I like to put the ingredients in a jar with a screw top lid and give the ingredients a good shake until they emulsify.

1 large chicken breast – poached (see above) and cut into bite size pieces.

1/2 a cauliflower – cut into smallish florets, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 oz. arugula (it is more than it sounds)

1 x 15 oz. can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained

1/2 a shallot – finely chopped

Place dressing in a large mixing bowl.

Add arugula and toss well.

Then, in order, add chicken, cauliflower, chickpeas and shallot one by one tossing well before adding the next ingredient. This ensures a good, even coating of dressing.

Lemon Anchovy Dressing

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 – 4 anchovy fillets (try 2 to start with a taste) – finely chopped

Mix lemon juice and mustard until smooth then add oil and anchovies.

 

 

 

Jo’s ‘Pizzette’ (4 or more if for Tapas)

 

photo (51)

This little invention of mine, ‘pizzette’, is a cross between the Italian pizza and the Spanish omelette. Basically it is an omelette topped with things you might (or might not) find on a pizza and you can vary the toppings endlessly – today I used harissa paste, spinach and sliced new potatoes. You can serve it hot or cold; you can serve it as a meal, or you can cut it up into slices/pieces and serve as tapas/hors d’oeuvres.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 eggs

a spoonful or two of harissa paste (depending on how hot you like things) plus a bit extra to put on each slice of potato

5 oz. spinach – rinsed then wilted in a small skillet/frying pan

4 – 6 new potatoes – boiled and sliced

When omelette is cooked (tricky part is turning it over) place it on a plate and smear all over with harissa paste.

Place spinach on top and then slices of potato on top of spinach.

Pop a small blob of harissa paste on each slice of potato.

 

Fennel, Orange and Hearts of Palm Salad with Orange Vinaigrette (2)

photo - Fennel, Orange and Hearts of Palm Salad

A lovely salad with a sweetness and some crunch. The vinaigrette has honey and mustard in it as well as orange juice. Perfect light lunch or good to take to work.

2 x oranges – cut into segments

Small head of fennel – cut into smallish pieces

2 x hearts of palm – sliced

1 slice of red onion – cut into small pieces

Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and pour vinaigrette over salad.

For the vinaigrette, place juice of one orange, 1 tsp. honey, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl and whisk with a fork

Jo’s Fiery Mushrooms (4)

photo - fiery mushrooms

Harissa paste adds the fiery taste – a tablespoon is all you need (or more or less depending on how spicy you like things). Great as an appetizer/starter, side dish, to take on a picnic or to work as lunch. Can be eaten hot or cold, is vegetarian and if you are able to eat bread it would good for mopping up the juices.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 an onion – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

8 oz. small mushrooms – sliced

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 cup veg. broth/stock (add more if needed but in the end you want a thickish sauce)

 

Place oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic.

When softened, add mushrooms and stir for a moment.

Add crushed tomatoes, harissa paste and veg broth.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce is thickish.