Asparagus with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Prosciutto (4)

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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)

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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)

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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.

 

 

 

Summer Prosciutto Platter (2)

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An absolutely no-cook recipe. Prosciutto and melon are often paired together as an appetizer and I have had them as an entree with some interesting leafy greens. The prosciutto platter is a mixture of sweet and salty foods that all work well together – prosciutto, melon, feta cheese, black olives and nectarine.

For 2 people allow:

2 slices of prosciutto each

handful of black olives – pitted and halved

3 slices of melon – chopped into pieces

2 oz. feta cheese – chopped into pieces

Half a ripe nectarine – sliced

Arrange all on a serving dish and let people help themselves

Jo’s Coronation Chicken (4)

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Coronation Chicken is a perfect summer salad invented by the founders of the famous Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It caught on in England and I remember my mother making the dressing with mulligatawny soup, mayonnaise and a little curry powder and it was considered quite exotic and served over cold rice with cucumber as a garnish. My take on Coronation Chicken is much lighter and it is accompanied by fruit instead of rice – a perfect summer lunch. I added chicken broth to the mayonnaise and whisked it until smooth, then added a blend of spices. Because the sauce was only lightly curried I served it with mango chutney on the side. Would be nice for a picnic.

 

2 chicken breasts – poached (I poached mine wrapped in aluminum foil in a little chicken broth)

12 black seedless grapes – halved

Handful of raisins

1/4 tsp. each of cumin, curry powder and garam masala

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tbsp. chicken broth

Almond slivers – just a few to sprinkle over the top

Garnishes – melon slice(s), green grapes, mango chutney

When poached chicken breasts are cooled cut into bite-size pieces and place in a serving dish with the grapes and raisins.

Place spices in a small bowl, add mayonnaise and chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Pour over the chicken mixture, stir well and top with almond slivers.

Serve with the various garnishes.

 

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

 

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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.