Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Roasted Asparagus with Fresh Favas and Morels

Roasted Asparagus with Fresh Favas and Morels

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ounce dried morel mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 1 lb fresh fava beans, shelled (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 lbs thick asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 slices pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Recipe Preparation

  • Bring 1/2 cup water to boil in small saucepan . Add mushrooms. Remove from heat. Place shallot in small bowl. Add vinegar. Let mixture stand 30 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Cook favas in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water. Remove and discard outer skin of each fava bean; transfer favas to medium bowl.

  • Place asparagus on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast asparagus until tender when pierced with skewer, about 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, drain mushrooms and slice thinly. Sauté pancetta in saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sliced mushrooms; sauté 2 minutes. Add shallot mixture; simmer 2 minutes. Add favas and toss to heat through. Stir in thyme. Season fava-mushroom mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Place asparagus on platter. Top with fava-mushroom mixture and serve.

Photos by Pornchai MittongtareReviews Section

Celebrate Spring Produce This Cinco de Mayo with Vegetarian Mexican Dishes

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is mostly seen as an excuse to drink margaritas and Mexican beer, take shots of tequila, and eat lots of tacos, burritos, and other Mexican fare. What’s often overlooked (besides the actual significance of the holiday) is the fact that it’s also finally spring, but that’s worth celebrating too. So why not combine fresh seasonal ingredients with Mexican and Tex-Mex traditions in honor of both occasions?

Raw Materials 9 Produce Subscriptions You Should Know About When you think of Mexican (or Tex-Mex) food, chances are you go straight to things like meat-filled tacos, fajitas, or burritos, and if vegetables enter the equation, they’re most likely in the form of grilled peppers and onions and salsa. If you think vegetarian Mexican or Tex-Mex, your mind probably primarily conjures up rice, cheese, and beans, maybe guacamole. All of these are fantastic, of course, but there are far more interesting options for meatless Cinco de Mayo meals. While many aren’t what you’d call traditional, that’s no longer a knock on a dish, as long as it tastes good. And these particular recipes all highlight fresh spring produce to make the most of both the change of seasons and Cinco de Mayo.


Baked Ricotta With Spring Vegetables

David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Here’s a multipurpose dish that is perfect for spring, but can also highlight other seasons. It comes from Dan Kluger at Loring Place in Greenwich Village. He made it in winter, studded with squash and mushrooms. For spring, he scattered pickled ramps, favas and spring onions on top. But he said that other seasonal vegetables like artichokes, peas, morel mushrooms and asparagus could be used. As summer rolls in, there will be a different cast of characters to consider, like zucchini, cherry tomatoes and peppers. The dish works as a first course for four or a lunch dish for two, and could even replace salad and cheeses at a more elaborate dinner. &mdashFlorence Fabricant


A Dish A Day: 30 Things To Cook In April

Here’s a specially curated list of 30 things to cook in April! We’ve finally breached spring vegetable season — asparagus, baby greens, morel mushrooms, tender alliums and the like — so go at this fresh spread like a produce-starved winter warrior! Harvest a bounty of greenery, and while you’re at the farmers market, pick up eggs and milk infused with the happiness of chickens and cows who can finally free-range again. That’s where it’s at.

Recipe: Egg Crostini

Fancier than your typical mayo-slathered egg salad, these open-faced sandwiches get a pungent, saline smack from anchovies and capers and a little crunch from the radish. I love to trot out this combination as an hors d’oeuvre, piling the eggs et al onto small, thin slices of baguette. But for a light supper, late-night snack, or lunch, a crusty country loaf is a better, heartier option. In either case, it’s important to use really good ingredients here since the flavor completely depends on them. Seek out farmers’ market eggs, imported anchovies packed in olive oil, and good high-fat butter. Although all of this might seem overly precious, these details really matter when you’re serving them practically naked. Try it and see.

Roast these baby chokes with some white wine and garlic and dig in.

Recipe: April Bloomfield’s Pot-Roasted Artichoke

One of the reasons I go giddy about springtime is artichokes, particularly the small ones with tips closed tightly, like a flower at night. Some home cooks are reluctant to fill their totes with artichokes, but here’s what to know: The artichokes need to be turned — the barbed leaves plucked off and the other inedible bits trimmed away. I quite like the process. It’s meditative and satisfying once you get the hang of it. In this dish, the fleshy artichokes get browned and crispy tops and look like strange, beautiful roses. The acidity in the white wine cuts through the rich, dense veg and, along with the salty pops from the capers, highlights the artichokes’ unique herbaceousness.

There’s a pizza for every season. Make this one in the spring.

Recipe: Prosciutto Pizza With Roasted Asparagus And Fresh Peas

Okay, time to pay homage to one of my favorite cooks, Nigella Lawson. No, her food isn’t fussy. No, I don’t love all her recipes. But damn if she isn’t happy in the kitchen and sexy while she cooks. Long before I went to culinary school, I’d learned more than a few really useful kitchen tricks from Ms. Lawson, including how to make fantastic risi e bisi. If you’re not familiar, risi e bisi is an Italian risotto with peas. Most recipes I’ve seen are basic white risottos that rely on just-picked fresh peas to bring them to life. Not so with Nigella’s: She makes a rich pea sauce that she then adds to the risotto at the end, resulting in a vivid green pot of rice dotted with plump peas and alive with flavor. I took this concept and used it as a pasta sauce for years, until one day I had some left over and smeared it on a pizza, with delightful results. Some extra peas, a few torn slices of prosciutto and extra Parmesan and you have my version of pizza e bisi.

The prettiest crostini of them all. (Photo: Better Homes And Gardens.)

Recipe: Grilled Radish Crostini

Not so long ago, radishes were only eaten raw, on a salad or as a crunchy crudité. All kinds of creative ways have been discovered to coax out their naturally sweet flavor with heat by roasting, braising — and now grilling.

Fluffy, flaky, salty goodness on a plate.

Recipe: Ember-Roasted Salt Potatoes With Scallion Cream

The salt potato is a wonder to behold. Those who think that they have experienced the true essence of earthy starchiness that is the potato but have not tried this method are in for a surprise. The secret is to not be afraid of the salt. A true salt potato is boiled in water salted in a ratio of 1 pound salt for every 4 pounds of potatoes. Yes, that is a lot of salt. It’s so much salt that it crystallizes on the skins of the cooked potatoes, making them look like something dug up on a paleontological excavation. But, boy, do they taste great.

Dim sum at home, anyone?

Recipe: Charles Phan’s Famous Chive Cakes

These chive cakes are a classic Chinese dim sum dish that has proved extremely popular at the Slanted Door. They’re great served as hors d’oeuvres at a party, especially because you can make them ahead and simply reheat as necessary.

Take advantage of ramps and fava beans season with this salad. (Photo: Francoise Villeneuve.)

Recipe: Fava Bean Salad With Pickled Ramps And Goat Cheese

Ramps have a pretty short season, but when they’re here come spring, they’re on every restaurant menu. Its leaves are versatile, adding a garlicky heat to pesto, vinaigrettes and other sauces. They can also be wilted in a sauté pan with other seasonal goodies like morels, which are also out around about now. The ramp’s bulb is even more pungent than the leaves. Even though they lack the leaves’ gorgeous emerald green color, their texture makes for a fabulous pickle.

Serve spring vegetables the traditional Dutch way.

Recipe: Dutch White Asparagus

One of the great things about spring menus is all the tender, fresh green vegetable dishes. Longstanding Midtown dining spot Michael’s New York, owned by restaurateur Michael McCarty, boasts a Dutch recipe we had to try: citrus-steamed Dutch white asparagus (they actually do a mix of white and green) with a wine-spiked butter sauce, a runny poached egg and a little Parmesan cheese. A little prosciutto never hurt anyone, either.

Keep it hearty with broccolette. (Photo: Sara Remington.)

Recipe: Teriyaki Tofu Broccolette On Wild Rice

With homemade teriyaki sauce, pan-fried tofu, sautéed red bell pepper, broccolette and hearty wild rice, this stir-fry has it all. This recipe makes extra teriyaki sauce, because I love to have this sauce in my fridge to serve over veggies or rice. Broccolette is a delicious, hearty vegetable that is packed with vitamins and minerals. A cross between broccoli and Chinese kale, it’s subtly sweet and tastes almost like asparagus. It’s also known as broccolini and baby broccoli. If you’ve never tried it before, this is a perfect introduction to the magic of broccolette.

Spring onions: not on your usual list of toppings, but no less welcome!

Recipe: Spring Onion Pizza

Pizza is the ideal showcase for the green onions of spring. It cooks quickly, allowing these tender shoots and their bulbs to meld with oozing mozzarella and fresh garden herbs. A pizza stone allows for the ultimate crispy crust, whether you’re using your grill or oven. I like to make my own half-whole-wheat crust, but there are plenty of good premade versions available if you don’t have the time to make pizza dough from scratch.

Photo: Erin Kunkel Add some color to your salad blues.

Recipe: Chard Salad With Artichoke Hearts And Kalamata Olives Vinaigrette

Artichokes are essentially two vegetables in one. In this recipe we use the heart, which is tender with a texture somewhere between a really creamy potato and a roasted turnip. But you can also eat the bottom part of the leaves dip them into some homemade lemon aioli or melted butter with lemon juice mixed in. Serve the leaves as a snack while you’re getting the rest of the meal ready. It’s like the Tootsie Pop of vegetables. As Lil’ Kim once said while singing about artichokes: How many leaves does it take to get to the center?

These vegan sesame noodle bundles are a colorful treat for everyone at the party.

Recipe: Vegan Sesame Noodle Bundles

It can’t get any cuter or more delicious. Perfect for picking up and shoving into your face or, if you prefer, you can serve it on a plate like a princess. Long noodles mean long life, so don’t go breaking your noodles before boiling them. Use the longest noodles you can find in the biggest pot of boiling water. You can make these a few hours ahead and keep them on a serving tray covered in plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Crispy, cheesy asparagus is a good way to eat your greens. (Photo: Evan Sung, stylist: Kaitlyn DuRoss.)

Recipe: Asparagus Frico

When it comes to the crisp factor, few things match up to a well-made frico. Little more than grated cheese piled onto a baking sheet and heated into a lacy, crunchy round, it’s an Italian-restaurant staple that does double duty as a cracker. With spring (in theory) sprung, I wanted to integrate the freshness of young asparagus for a classic touch. What emerged was a combination of tender green spears with the bonus crunch of peppery toasted cheese. Eat it alone, pile some greens on top, or layer a piece of prosciutto on top. Frico-licious.

A hearty, meatless meal that will stick to your bones. (Photo: Jennifer McGruther.)

Recipe: Marrow Beans With Swiss Chard And Zesty Lemon

I treasure the salty and faintly metallic flavor of Swiss chard, and both the plant’s leaves and stems can bring a different flavor and a different texture to cooking. I like to use them separately, sautéing the tough stems in olive oil, as you might do with celery or onion. The stems soften a bit, losing their tough texture. The leaves, by contrast, grow dull with extended cooking, so I prefer to add them at the very end so they wilt in the heat of the warm beans and chicken broth but maintain their bright color. A bit of lemon helps to brighten the otherwise earthy flavors of beans and greens.

A verdant plate of Portland, right in your kitchen at home.

Recipe: Radish, Mâche And Arugula Salad

This salad pairs sweet mâche with peppery arugula and radishes in three hues for a vibrant taste of spring. Chinese green radishes are shaped like a daikon, but with bright-green flesh. Watermelon radishes are green on the outside, with striking magenta flesh, and are also related to daikon. The idea here is to make your salad colorful, so Easter Egg and French Breakfast varieties are options too if green or watermelon radishes aren’t available.

Crispy pockets of goodness. (Photo: Maren Caruso.)

Recipe: Chinese Chive And Pressed Tofu Turnover

These chewy-crisp pockets of goodness are fun to make and even better to eat. They are a popular Chinese snack filled with the slight garlicky bite of Chinese chives and the savory depth of seasoned pressed tofu. Clear cellophane noodles add body and egg binds the ingredients together. Some cooks add dried shrimp, but I prefer to avoid muddling the flavors.

These braised leeks stand tall and proud, ready to make a great first impression on the vegetable enthusiasts in your life.

Recipe: Couscous With Leeks And Lemons

I like leeks. They are different, they taste amazing, they are easy to cook, and they are not too expensive. Often, they are merely a component in a recipe, but here they take center stage on the salad plate. To add a little more substance I have teamed them with plump pearls of Israeli couscous, some seeds for crunch and taste, and fresh herbs. Simple, tasty, striking.

Hearty, briny Dungeness crab and earthy mushrooms team up in this ultimate spring appetizer recipe!

Recipe: Crab-Stuffed Morel Mushrooms

Crab-stuffed fresh morels are one of my favorite hors d’oeuvres. You’ll find many variations on the theme. They can be made ahead and then baked just before serving. I think Dungeness crab is the best because I’m a West Coast boy, but use whatever crab you like. Be sure to thoroughly wash and dry the morels after cutting them in half. They are notorious for harboring insects and debris. Unlike other mushrooms, morels don’t soak up a lot of water and as a result keep their texture.

Bake brie straight into artichokes. (Photo: Alibaba.)

Recipe: Artichoke With Baked Brie Sauce

I’m not so sure this recipe is really Italian, having brie as a main accompaniment to the artichokes, but it turned out so well that I wanted to share it with you anyway. Rather than dip your artichoke leaves in butter, aioli or other sauce, bake a creamy-crunchy brie-spiked sauce right on top and let the goodness ooze all over. Sound like a plan?

Combat the slight bitterness of Swiss chard with the earthiness of mushrooms.

Recipe: Swiss Chard With Shiitake Butter

Swiss chard isn’t exactly a bitter green, but it’s not candy either. To bring out its fresh, mild, spinach-like flavor, I braise it with earthy mushrooms and thyme.

A vibrant green wheat pilaf is the perfect side to simple grilled meat — try it with lamb!

Recipe: Cracked Wheat Pilaf With Spring Peas

I came up with this dish one spring when I wanted to create a showcase for a lot of peas: a pressing issue, since they were pouring out of my garden faster than I could cook them. I also wanted to make sure that the sugar snaps were prepared in such a way that there was minimal risk of overcooking them, which I think is too often their unhappy fate. Peas are very nice paired with cracked wheat, an ingredient that I once thought of only in the context of breakfast. The nutty flavor and chewiness of the cracked wheat complements the sweet sugar snaps and English peas. Pureeing some of the peas and stirring the puree into the wheat underscores that fresh, green flavor that tells us spring is here.

(Photo: Sara Remington)

Recipe: Creamed Spinach With Leeks With Cheddar

This is a beautiful way to enjoy spinach and leeks, and it makes a homey and satisfying lunch. The addition of mustard, white pepper and apple butter gives it a very British character. Serve this with an egg on top and toast on the side for an extra-special midday meal.

Not sure how to eat those whole radishes? Bacon and butter never tire of coming to the rescue.

Recipe: Spring Radishes With Bacon Butter

We could wax on and on about the complexity and finesse of this compound butter, but really, the name says it all: Bacon Butter. Serve it with radishes in the spring and homemade bread all year long.

A silky blob of burrata elevates this simple asparagus polenta to superstar status.

Recipe: Asparagus Polenta With Burrata

A soft mound of polenta is a blank canvas of a meal, ready to absorb whatever you’re in the mood to put on top. I’ll often cook up a potful as a landing pad for all kinds of leftovers that aren’t quite substantial enough to be called dinner on their own—those couple of tablespoons of last night’s braised short ribs, a container of sautéed veggies, that small amount of cooked beans that have no other destination. In this recipe, the polenta is a bed for roasted asparagus and burrata cheese—a kind of mozzarella that oozes cream when you poke it. It’s a meal both comforting and company-worthy, especially if you serve it with a juicy rare steak or pork chops. I usually make my polenta with water. But if you want a richer flavor and have some good stock in the freezer, feel free to substitute it for all or part of the liquid in any of the recipes in this chapter.

A winter twist on a Japanese dish that won’t make you miss the spinach. (Photo: Raymond Ham.)

Recipe: Swiss Chard Oshitashi

Thin flakes of dried bonito, a fish that’s related to mackerel and tuna, have been used as a briny, faintly smoky seasoning in Japan for centuries. Bonito flakes are available at Asian markets, many supermarkets and Asian Food Grocer.

These pretty beet and ricotta sandwiches will satisfy vegetarians and omnivores alike.

Recipe: Roasted Beet Sandwiches With Chive Ricotta Cheese

When first assembled, these sandwiches are big, magenta-and-white tasty tumbles. Overnight, they set up nicely and the creamy ricotta gets a pretty pink hue from the beets. Chives are delicate and enhance the ricotta, but green onions would make a tasty, slightly more robust substitution.

Don’t leave leeks out of your diet.

Recipe: Sweet And Sour Leeks With Goat Curd

I have done it before, and I am doing it again here, that is, placing leek right in the center of a substantial stand-alone dish. This is not trivial for a vegetable that is normally given the side job of flavoring other things, like stocks and soups. I find the creaminess of leeks and their sweet oniony flavor very satisfying. This dish, with its jewel-like currants, makes an elegant starter. Use long, relatively thin leeks if you can find them otherwise, just halve their number.

Make this vibrant, verdant salad with some of the most delicious eggs around.

Recipe: Asparagus And Almond Salad With Spiced Quail Eggs

This is a really pretty, elegant salad full of popping tastes and contrasting textures. Quail eggs are tricky things to peel — use your fingernails and a small, sharp knife — but well worth the effort. If you can’t get them, then use hen’s eggs and serve one per person.

Bright, citrusy spring peas are the perfect pairing for succulent seared scallops.

Recipe: Lemon Spring Peas With Seared Scallops

Scallops are incredibly quick to cook but really need a skillet that’s large enough to give each of them plenty of breathing room to sear. To ensure a golden crust on each scallop, wipe the skillet between batches. The moisture left from the first batch will keep the second one from searing properly. If you can find pea shoots at the farmers’ market, this is a perfect time to show them off as a garnish.

Forget chickpeas. Fava falafels are more fun to say, anyway. (Photo: Alibaba.)

Recipe: Fava Bean Falafel

Spring is the perfect time to sub in abundant, seasonal fava beans for all your legume needs. Like chickpeas, fava beans make a delicious purée, and, when dried and reconstituted, an equally delicious falafel. Because they’re similar in texture, fava beans and chickpeas can usually be substituted for each other. A blend of dried favas and seasonings will hold together as a fried ball better than fresh fava beans, but keep in mind they need to soak and rehydrate for a full 24 hours.


7 Spring Foods You Don’t Want to Miss

With the change of season comes a delicious bounty of new crops. While the colder months offer an array of root vegetables perfect for hearty stews, the spring harvest boasts a variety of light and tasty produce perfect for whipping up easy dishes for picnics and barbeques. Take a look at some of what you will soon be seeing at your local grocery store and farmers markets.

Strawberries

While it’s true that you can buy strawberries from the grocery store year-round, these berries are anything but fresh, as they are often shipped from far away places. Even organic strawberries can carry a fair amount of pesticides, since foreign countries’ standards for organic often don’t match the American standard. Keep your eyes open for locally grown, fresh, organic strawberries hitting shelves beginning in April (or in May or even June in the more northerly climates).

One of the first spring vegetables you’ll find is fresh asparagus. An extremely high source of folate, asparagus stalks are first harvested in March to May (again, depending on your climate). These tender green spears are delicious sauteed, stir-fried or thrown right on the grill.

Sugar snap, snow or green peas first come into season in April. These tasty legumes are a good source of plant protein and fiber. Depending on the variety you select, you will get a healthy helping of B vitamins, along with extra zinc in green peas and added vitamin C in the sugar snap and snow varieties.

First harvested in March, these oddly shaped veggies hardly resemble something edible, yet offer a wealth of nutrition. High in iron, potassium, magnesium and folate, artichokes can be added to salads or enjoyed roasted with a savory dip.

An excellent source of plant-based protein, fava beans will help keep you fuller longer. The beans are harvested early in the spring months. Young favas can be eaten shelled and raw, while mature beans must first be skinned as the coating is too tough to eat. Add favas to salads and soups, or incorporate into vegetarian burgers.

A summertime staple, cherries should start hitting supermarket shelves in early May. There’s no end to the dishes you can prepare with these sweet treats. Pies, tarts and cakes incorporate the perfect combination of sweetness and tartness, while raw cherries can be added to salads, spreads and chutneys, or just enjoyed on their own.

Morel Mushrooms

A member of the truffle family, these wild mushrooms are a delicacy most often served in finer restaurants or found in specialty stores. Their honeycomb-like texture acts as a sponge, absorbing the flavors of the sauces around them, making them a perfect addition to pasta dishes (remember to use gluten-free pasta). Their nutty flavor adds a unique twist to salads and other veggie combinations.

Hungry yet? Here are a few spring recipes you can whip up using some of these seasonal ingredients.

Simple Asparagus and Morel Mushroom Saute

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch organic asparagus
  • 1 lb. fresh organic morel mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. organic butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped organic chives, chervil or thyme

Preparation:

  1. Trim the asparagus and cut the spears into 1-inch lengths.
  2. Clean the morels by soaking briefly in a large bowl of cool water. Swish them around a bit and then lift the morels out of the water. Small morels can be left whole, larger ones should be cut in half.
  3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the morels and cook, stirring until they start to release their liquid, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus, cover, and cook until the asparagus is bright green, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated and the vegetables are just coated with the sauce, resulting from their liquids mixing with the butter.
  4. Remove from the heat and season to taste with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Garnish with chives, chervil, or thyme to taste. Serve hot or warm.

Spring Vegetable (Gluten-Free) Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 4 organic spring onions
  • 2 organic lemons
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. organic fava beans
  • 1 lb. organic English peas
  • 1/2 lb. organic snap peas
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups gluten-free couscous (Lundberg Farms makes a roasted brown rice variety)
  • 1/2 cup organic crumbled feta cheese

Preparation:

  1. Finely chop the onions. Set aside 1/4 of the chopped onion. Place the remaining 3/4 onion in a small bowl.
  2. To make the spring onion relish: zest 1 of the lemons, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith. Add the zest to the onion. Juice both lemons and add the juice to the onion-zest mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set the relish aside.
  3. Shell, blanch, and re-shell the fava beans. Shell the English peas. Trim and string the snap peas and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces.
  4. In a medium pot, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the reserved onion and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onion and garlic are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick but still soupy, about 12 minutes if using roasted brown rice (gluten-free) couscous (if using wheat-based couscous, which we don’t recommend, then cook only 5 minutes). Stir in the peas and snap peas. Continue cooking and stirring another 3 minutes. Add the fava beans. Cook until the couscous and the vegetables are tender, about 1 to 2 more minutes.
  5. Serve the couscous hot, warm, or at room temperature topped with the spring onion relish and feta cheese.

Artichokes with Roasted Garlic Wine Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole organic garlic heads
  • 4 medium organic artichokes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup organic vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. organic butter
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • Chopped fresh organic parsley

Preparation:


Fava beans are a spring favorite in southern and central Italy. This salad, adapted from Patricia Wells’, Trattoria, (William Morrow 1993) is popular as a starter or as part of an antipasto spread. If you can only find a hard grating pecorino, use a soft goat cheese. If there are leftovers, saute the beans and cheese with a little oil in a small skillet. They are fragrant and delicious as a warm appetizer.
Makes 8 to 12 servings

  • 2 pounds fresh unshelled fava beans (about 2 cups shelled beans)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, snipped with scissors
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers (hot red pepper flakes), or to taste
  • 8 ounces soft sheep’s milk cheese such as a pecorino or a soft fresh goat’s milk cheese, cut in small cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Shell and parboil the beans as directed above in how to get at the bean.
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss to blend. Taste for seasoning.


FOOD NOTES

Sign of SpringSoft-shell crabs have arrived. The seasonal delicacies, a certain sign of spring for New Yorkers, are coming from Florida waters and are available in a few fish establishments around town. As the season progresses, they will become more widely available. According to Fulton Fish Market representatives, prices are reasonable, considering that it is the start of the season. The crabs will be cheaper later as supplies from Chesapeake Bay become abundant.

At the Rosedale Fish and Oyster Market, 1129 Lexington Avenue (79th Street), jumbo soft-shells are $3 each, while Balducci's, 424 Avenue of the Americas (Ninth Street) charges $3 for large crabs. The difference between large and jumbo seems very slight, and home cooks should count on two crabs, whether jumbo or large, per serving, more for very hearty eaters.

In preparing soft-shells, simpler is better. Dip each crab in flour and saute briefly. A dash of lemon or lime juice completes the job.

In another sign of the season, for $1.98 a pound, Balducci's has the first fava, or broad beans, seen around town this spring. These are the small, immature beans that Italians like to eat raw, shucked from the pod, with soft sheep's milk cheeses such as caciotto or pecorino.

The first morels are arriving in New York from the West Coast, mostly from Oregon, where the best and most prolific crop of these rare and beautifully perfumed wild mushrooms seems to grow. Bloomingdale's has yellow (or white, as they are sometimes called) morels from Oregon for $17.50 a half-pound. Down in Soho, at Dean & Deluca, 121 Prince Street (Greene Street), the mushrooms are $5 a quarter-pound.

Jim Laurence, manager of Bloomingdale's fresh food department, says the yellow morels are milder and more delicate in flavor than the black ones, which should be coming along in a week to 10 days. He recommends cooking yellow morels briefly, with as few other flavors as possible, so their flavor is not masked. He said they stay fresh for up to a week and, if not used right away, should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. When dried, morels can be kept for several months.

Cooks too weary or too busy to prepare for Passover Friday night might want to avail themselves of the Passover dishes prepared at Neuman & Bogdonoff, the carry-out shop at 1385 Third Avenue (79th Street). Chopped chicken liver ($5 a pound), chicken soup with matzoh balls ($7 a quart) and savory minced gefilte fish ($4 each) with red horseradish are among first-course offerings. Main dishes include brisket ($9 a pound), roast chicken ($4 a half) or plump Cornish hens stuffed with chopped vegetables bound with matzoh meal ($5 each).

There are spring vegetables as well as tsimmes, that concoction of sweet potatoes, prunes, raisins and apricots that, according to Stacy Bogdonoff, a co-owner of the shop, ''is one of those light Jewish dishes that sticks to your thighs instead of your ribs.'' The tsimmes at Neuman & Bogdonoff is made without schmaltz (chicken fat) and shredded brisket, which makes it lighter than the usual dish. It costs $6 a pound.

For sweets, the shop has a dense matzoh kugel with apples, raisins and walnuts ($4.50 a pound), macaroons ($10 a pound) and various cakes, including Passover sponge cakes, both wine-flavored and citrus-flavored ($5 a loaf), as well as chocolate and carrot roulades ($10 and $8 for six inches) and a chocolate mousse cake ($6 to $24, depending on the size). The cakes, which are made by Cindy Oɻrien, are flourless, but Paul Neuman, the other owner of the shop, says they do contain butter and eggs and are not kosher.

The New York Public Library will sponsor lectures this month and next on ethnic and American regional cooking as experienced by four well- known cooks and cookbook authors. The lectures, which will cost $5 each, will take place Wednesday evenings at 6 P.M. in the Trustees' Room at the Central Library, Fifth Avenue and 42d Street. They are intended to draw attention to the library's collection of cookbooks and culinary texts, estimated to number 28,000 volumes.

On April 24, Helen Nash will talk about innovations in kosher cooking Julie Sahni will discuss the cuisines of India on May 1 Elizabeth Andoh will describe Japanese food on May 8, and on May 22 Joan Nathan, author of 'ɺn American Folklife Cookbook'' (Schocken), will talk about regional American cooking.

Tickets for any or all lectures should be ordered before April 17 by sending a check and a stamped, self- addressed envelope to the Public Education Program, New York Public Library, Room M-6, Fifth Avenue and 42d Street, New York, N.Y. 10018. Or telephone 212-930-0855.

A plump, fresh capon might make a nice alternative to the usual ham or lamb for Easter Sunday dinner. Capons under seven pounds are $1.79 a pound at Jefferson Market, 455 Avenue of the Americas (10th Street), and larger birds are $2.39 a pound. With a stuffing of fresh wild morels and garnished with new potatoes, asparagus, little carrots and peas, a roasted capon makes a lovely seasonal presentation.

Another spring dish that does well for the Easter centerpiece is veal. Breast of veal, bone in, is $1.59 a pound at Jefferson. If you bring your own stuffing, the butcher will bone, stuff and roll it at no extra charge.

Ottomanelli's Market, at 61-05 Woodside Avenue in Woodside, Queens, also has capons for the holiday, but Michael Ottomanelli suggests one of his prosciutto-wrapped shoulder roasts of veal ($5.98 a pound) or a bacon-wrapped roast stuffed with prosciutto and garlic ($4.98 a pound).

Balducci's has little squablike petits poussins, flown in from California, at $7.50 a pound. Each one weighs about a pound and makes one serving. They can be stuffed with rice and wild mushrooms and quickly roasted in a hot oven. Paula Wolfert, who teaches cooking and has written several cookbooks, splits the birds, dredges them in dried herbs such as ground coriander, ginger and cumin, and sears them in a very hot frying pan, weighting them down with a heavier pan, for a presentation that recalls New Orleans blackened fish.


Giada's 30-Minute Pasta with Mushrooms and Asparagus — Meatless Monday

The beauty of pasta is that, like a pizza crust or a slice of bread, it's a culinary blank canvas just waiting to be dressed up with your choice of flavors. The usual standbys, like marinara and Alfredo sauces, may be go-to picks for topping noodles, but there's nearly no limit to the ingredients you can use to create a sauce all your own.

In her quick-fix recipe for Creamy Farfalle with Cremini, Asparagus and Walnuts (pictured above), Giada De Laurentiis reinvents the idea of a traditional cream-based sauce by using — believe it or not — no cream at all. She starts with a base of earthy mushrooms and in-season asparagus, then adds the noodles and the mascarpone cheese, which will not only hug the bow ties but also provide the richness and silky texture you know and love. Follow Giada's lead and keep some of the pasta water on hand you may need it to thin the sauce as you combine it with the pasta. For a bit of welcome texture, add crunchy toasted walnuts to round out the dish before serving.

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.


Roasted Asparagus with Fresh Favas and Morels - Recipes

Here we are, Little League baseball season once again, the third time since I started this blog – time flies, eh?! I have to say, it feels good to be back in the fresh air and warm sun, eating a little dust, catching up with the Baseball Moms (outside of McCoys, ha), and watching my nephew Cooper Cuteness running all over the place, thinking he’s ready to play some ball. “I want to go in there! ” says Cooper, age just-2, pointing over the fence at the Big Boys, the cool ones, the ones hitting and throwing the ball as hard as they possibly can… Eeek!

We had a game yesterday too, an appetizer of sorts before the dinner I made for Dad, Susanna, Stacey, Cooper, John, and Nathan. We all ended up here by four or so, in time for Jake (my parents’ dog) to take the inaugural 󈧌 swim in the pool (splash!), while I pulled together some (real) appetizers and Cooper and Nathan ran around chasing Jake. We vegged out – literally – with sauteed artichokes and roasted asparagus , followed by a first course of thin fresh pasta with favas and morels (hey, what can I say, ’tis the season) and a dab of creme fraiche . Oh, don’t worry, we beefed up plenty – a whole beef tenderloin roast , rubbed with minced garlic, herbs, olive oil , and coarse salt , grilled crusty and served over slices of grilled bread with sauteed cherry tomatoes, spring onions , and Brussels sprouts . With zabligione for dessert, oy we were stuffed, daring to ring in spring with a truly spring-y meal.

Today, due to a lovely, sunny visit with my friend Kathie, I actually achieved sun rash, itchy and bumpy and…completely welcome. Hey, I’ll take any sun at this point, especially on Kathie’s pretty patio, especially in comparison to gray clouds and snow. Rash on!

Moderate it: roasted vegetables make delicious – and not overly heavy – appetizers. The goal is to set out a nibble, not fill everyone up before dinner.


Addpix With R & D working on the electricity for R’s house, I was on my own cooking this labor-intensive dish, except that D brought in, washed, and did the initial picking over of the herbs. Leaving only an hour’s &hellip Continue reading &rarr

D cooked a very interesting and delicious pasta tonight, and added roasted asparagus for a wonderful veggie. He threw cut up leftover skirt steak into olive oil to heat up, then put very thin slices of lemon on top of &hellip Continue reading &rarr