Arugula and Asparagus Ribbon Salad
Adapted from www.mynewroots.org.
During asparagus’s short season, serving it raw is a great way to enjoy it. Shaving the spears into thin ribbons and briefly marinating them in a quick vinaigrette turns the asparagus soft and almost creamy.
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, roughly chopped
- Pecorino Romano, for serving, optional
Directions: Slice the tips off the asparagus spears, then slice them all in half, lengthwise. Place in a large bowl and set aside. Use a vegetable peeler on the asparagus spears to create long, thin ribbons. Add the ribbons to the bowl of asparagus tips and set aside.
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and minced shallot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the asparagus, and toss to coat. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Add the arugula to the bowl of asparagus and toss to combine. Top with chopped hazelnuts, more black pepper, and a few shavings of Pecorino Romano, if using. Serve. Makes 2 generous servings.
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Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice and Blue Cheese
Adapted from The New York Times.
Vidalia onions will make this a one-of-a-kind soup, but if they’re not available, try Walla Walla or another variety of sweet onion. If you have homemade stock on hand, this would be an ideal time to use it.
- 1/2 cup of wild rice, uncooked
- 3 Tbs. butter
- 2 1/2 lbs. Vidalia onions, quartered, very thinly sliced
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
- 3 Tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 4 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
- 8 slices baguette
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 oz. blue cheese, mild
Directions: Combine the wild rice with 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to very low, cover, and allow to cook at a low simmer, undisturbed, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 50-55 minutes. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven or 4-5 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and toss to coat. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to very low. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and raise the heat to medium-low. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue to cook the onions 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until very tender. Pour in the stock. Wrap the chives, basil, parsley, and tarragon in a bundle of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string. Add the herb bundle to the stock. Simmer for 20 minutes, removing the herb bundle after 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until golden brown. Spread with blue cheese.
Divide the cooked wild rice among four bowls. Ladle broth and onions over the rice, and top each bowl with two slices of the baguette. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
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Vietnamese Caramelized Pork
Adapted from www.cooking.nytimes.com.
Served with steamed white rice, this is a restaurant-quality meal that’s surprisingly straightforward to prepare.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 2 1/2 lbs. pork belly or pork butt, sliced into thin, 1-inch-long strips
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 heaping tsp. minced garlic
- dash of sesame oil
- 1 Vidalia onion, sliced
- 2 scallions, green part only, sliced
- steamed white rice, for serving
Directions: Place 1 cup of the sugar in a large, heavy skillet, and cook over medium-low heat.When it melts and turns golden, add the pork, raise heat to medium, and stir to coat. The sugar will harden and become sticky, but as it cooks, it will melt again. Stir in the remaining sugar, salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sesame oil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes to reduce the sauce. Fold in the sliced onion and cook 5-7 minutes, until translucent. The pork should be caramelized at this point. If not, raise the heat to medium, and sauté, stirring, until the sauce reduces more.
Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the sliced scallion. Serve hot, with steamed white rice. Makes 4 servings.
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Mushroom, Bacon, and Arugula Breakfast Skillet
Adapted from www.joythebaker.com.
This quick skillet isn’t just for breakfast – it’s an easy dish to prepare any time. Savory mushrooms, bacon, and eggs pair wonderfully with fresh green arugula.
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 cup Cremini mushrooms, trimmed, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup arugula
Directions: Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through and crispy. Chop roughly, and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Drain some of the bacon grease from the skillet, leaving about 1-2 tablespoons in the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cover. Cook until they’ve reached your desired doneness, then remove from heat. Top with bacon, mushrooms, and arugula. Serve immediately, with fresh, crusty bread. Makes 4 servings.
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Rosemary Baked Vidalia Onions with Alfredo Sauce
Adapted from www.food52.com.
For a satisfying meal, serve these baked, whole onions with a big salad and some bread, or alongside a grilled steak.
- 4 medium Vidalia onions, trimmed and peeled
- 4 1/2 Tbs. butter, divided
- 4 rosemary sprigs
- olive oil
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives
- 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
Directions: Preheat oven to 425˚F. Place the onions in a deep casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Top each onion with a tablespoon of butter and a sprig of rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F, and bake for another 30 minutes.
Combine the last 1/2 tablespoon of butter and the garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the garlic has softened but not browned. Pour in the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring, until reduced by half. Fold in the grated Parmesan, and stir until melted and combined. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.
Top each onion with a tablespoon of the alfredo sauce and minced chives and rosemary. Serve immediately, with more of the sauce on the side. Makes 4 servings.
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Sliced Steak with Arugula
Adapted from Gourmet.
This iconic Roman dish (Stracceti di Manzo in Italian) is perfect for a sophisticated, but simple, dinner in a hurry.
- 1/2 lb. baby arugula
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 lb. boneless top loin steak, or sirloin, 1-inch thick
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- 3/4 tsp. pepper, divided
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
Directions: Place the arugula on a large serving platter and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and rosemary, and heat, turning occasionally, for 4 minutes. Remove garlic and rosemary and discard.
Slice the steak crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the steak to the skillet and cook in olive oil over high heat, tossing with tongs to color evenly. Cook for 1 minute total for medium-rare. Use the tongs to arrange the steak over the arugula. Add the shallot to the hot oil in the skillet, stir in the balsamic and red wine vinegars, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoons of salt and pepper. Cook the shallots for 2 minutes, then pour the contents of the skillet over the steak and arugula. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
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