Bon Green Appetit

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By Janeen A. SarlinAmong the fresh greens at the farmers markets, green garlic is a real gem.

It’s sold in bunches, the leaves are flat with a small bulb at the bottom and it looks similar to scallions. This quickly prepared Green Garlic Soup recipe can be served hot or cold. If the market doesn’t have baby fava beans, use baby limas instead.

For the second recipe, using spring greens to make a pasta sauce for dinner is delicious and nutritious. It’s also the natural thing to do after seeing everything in the market.

Lastly, pairing asparagus with mustard, shallots and anchovy paste might seem odd, but last spring I ordered it in a few small restaurants along the Riviera and the dishes were marvelous. Pour a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc to drink with the pasta, then sit back and enjoy the meal.

Bon green appétit!

Green Garlic Soup(Serves 4 to 6)6 cups good quality chicken stock

10 to 12 stalks green garlic, trimmed, washed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons herbs de Provence, or more to taste

1/2 bay leaf

Sea salt, to taste

1½ pounds young fava beans, shelled and blanched for 2 minutes

1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh chives, snipped for garnishTo prepare:Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a large stockpot over moderate high heat.

Add garlic, potatoes, herbs de Provence, bay leaf and salt and simmer until the vegetables are fork tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove bay leaf.

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until it becomes a medium purée.

Return the purée to the stockpot and add fava beans and pepper.

Bring back to a simmer.

Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and once again bring to a simmer.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chives.Udon Noodles With Spinach, Scallions, And Chevre(Serves 4)2 bunches scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 large bunch spinach, thoroughly washed and drained and coarsely chopped

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 ounces plain Chevre, crumbled

1 pound udon noodles

1 pint cherry tomatoes or slivers of sun-dried tomatoes, for garnishTo prepare:Coat the bottom of a non-reactive large skillet with olive oil.

Sauté scallions and garlic over moderate high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add spinach.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until the spinach is wilted.

Add Chevre and about a quarter cup of water and stir until the mixture becomes creamy.

Taste and adjust the seasonings and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the udon noodles until al dente, about 8 minutes or according to the directions on the side of the package.

Drain well.

Add a small amount of the pasta water to the sauce if it’s too thick.

Toss the sauce with the pasta.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer the pasta to warm serving bowls, garnish and serve at once.Linguine With Asparagus, Shallots, And Mustard(Serves 4)2 pounds thin asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons good quality grainy mustard

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large shallots, minced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

Pinch of thyme

1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 pound linguine

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to tasteTo prepare:Cook the asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes.

Remove from the water (reserving the water for the pasta), drain, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Coat the bottom of a small skillet with olive oil and slowly cook shallots and garlic together until soft and translucent over medium heat, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a small bowl.

Combine the mustard, olive oil, shallots, garlic, anchovy paste, thyme and parsley and mix well.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Return the pot of water to a boil and cook the linguine until al dente, about 7 minutes or according to directions on the side of the package.

Drain well.

Toss the hot linguine with the sauce in a large bowl.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve the pasta warm or at room temperature.

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