Tag: delight

Asparagus, spring delight: how to cook them without errors – Italian Cuisine

Asparagus, spring delight: how to cook them without errors


The season of the coming is coming asparagus! It is indeed the months from March to June those in which this typical spring vegetable is sold. Delicious and ideal for pairings with delicately flavored foods such as pasta, rice, eggs, fish and white meats, asparagus these days begin to appear on the markets in many different varieties.

Asparagus to be discovered
Large or thin, white, violet and naturally green, of which Italy is a great producer especially in Veneto, Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Campania and Puglia. Let's discover together the main varieties of asparagus with which to delight us at the table.

Green: tasty and variable in size, it is the most common and versatile asparagus in the kitchen. The Green of Altedo Igp is excellent.

White: large, with a gentle taste and renowned for its softness, it is also called "mangiatutto" because it has no waste. Its delicate color originates in cultivation, it grows in fact under the ground and is picked before the top starts from the ground. The pride of Veneto is the white asparagus of Bassano Dop and Cimadolmo Igp.

Violet: colorful and particularly tender, with an intense taste, it is picked as soon as it comes out of the ground. It lends itself perfectly to the preparation of both rustic and delicate dishes. Among the most famous varieties are the violet of Albenga with a buttery consistency without fibrousness Napoli, the violet of Naples and the pink asparagus of Mezzago d’Argenteuil.

Wild: long and thin, it has a rich taste that does not need to be enriched with sauces or too tasty toppings. The end of the stem, earthy and woody, should be removed, the rest should be gently scraped with a small knife or a potato peeler. During cooking, be careful not to break them.

Asparagine: with this term we define the very thin shoots of wild asparagus, ideal for pinzimoni, pies, omelettes and soups.

Mistakes not to be made
There are so many preparations based on asparagus: sophisticated or simple recipes, complicated or easy, all require special care in the preparation and cooking of this particular vegetable. Here are the most common wrong moves to avoid:

Choose them carelessly: when you buy them, check that they are fresh and intact, of a bright color and without dents. Fresh are tough, with the stem that does not bend but – if forced – it breaks. Check that the tips are well closed, upright and crunchy and that the firm but not woody stems have a uniform color, without spots. An extra eye for asparagus in the center of the bunch, because they tend to deteriorate faster.

Do not peel the remaining stem: in theory, once you have measured the asparagus – aligning it on the side of the tip and eliminating the hard part of the stem, on the other side – there would be no need to peel the part that remained attached to the tip. Mistaken. Tender inside, even the thin wild asparagus can be fibrous on the outside: arm yourself with potato peeler or a paring knife, and scrape it from the tip (excluding it) towards the stem, with a very light hand (you will not want to find yourself with asparagus in julienne!) .

Do not use the asparagus: tall and narrow, equipped with a basket and lid, the asparagus is the pot designed specifically for asparagus. For an optimal cooking they must be placed in the basket, closed in bunches and with the points facing upwards; the water in the pot should reach only half of the stem and do not forget the lid: in this way the stems will boil while the tips, softer, will steam, remaining more crispy. They will be ready when they "bow their heads". Alternatively, cook them lying down with steam, with a little water, checking the cooking because when the tips are ready the thicker stems will be a little behind.

Use the same cooking for all preparations: we saw that the asparagus is perfect for a perfect cooking. Choose it sand you want to cook the asparagus to serve them whole as a side dish, perhaps accompanied by a hollandaise sauce, the Venetian one with mimosa eggs or the classic fried egg, with melted butter and flaked Parmesan. For risotto, creams, mousses, velvety, pies, omelettes, salads or pinzimoni, you can scald them just in salt water if they are thick; but don't boil them: they would absorb too much water. Alternatively, use them uncooked: pass them in a pan after having cut the stems into slices, leaving only the tips whole and proceed with cooking, remembering to start with the washers and join the tips only later. Wild asparagus and asparagine, even if thin, should always be scalded. Remember that white asparagus is preferable to steam them, because if boiled they would absorb too much water due to their particular softness.

Throw away the scraps: don't make the mistake of throwing the eliminated stems; wash them, peel them and boil them in salted water or vegetable broth for about twenty minutes. Once cooked, you can blend them directly in the broth: it will be perfect to prepare an excellent risotto. Alternatively you can drain them and then blend them with a little butter and grated Parmesan, checking the density of the mixture by adding 1 boiled potato and a few tablespoons of the cooking broth: the cream obtained is a greedy one seasoning for pasta or, if you stretch it more, a particular one velvety, garnished with parmesan flakes, asparagus tips, buttered and some croutons.

Giulia Paganelli
March 2017
updated March 2019 by Claudia Minnella

DISCOVER THE COOKING COURSES OF SALT & PEPE

Pasta kataifi: crunchy honey delight – Italian Cuisine

Pasta kataifi: crunchy honey delight


The kataifi is not just a particular filamentous pasta, but also an excellent Greek dessert

One of the most famous sweets in Greece, after the whole yogurt with honey and nuts, is certainly the kataifi which takes its name from the pasta that is used to prepare it.

What is kataifi pasta?

It's about a preparation based on flour and water and is a typical ingredient of Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine.
In practice it is a phyllo dough cut with very thin threads that becomes croccantissima once cooked.
It is not easy to prepare it at home, but you can find it in stores specialized in ethnic food and in large supermarkets in the frozen department.
It is generally used as a wrapping in many preparations and filled with dried fruit as in the recipe that we propose or with other ingredients also salty, such as shrimp, to make delicious finger food appetizers.

The recipe of the Greek kataifi

To prepare this delicious dessert you must first of all make honey syrup by dissolving 200 g of honey with two tablespoons of water, 50 g of sugar and a lot of cinnamon powder. Add also the whole rind of a lemon to give perfume and then let it cool for good.
Separately chopped 180 g of walnuts with a spoon of brown sugar, an egg and another cinnamon.
Roll out the kataifi dough to get longer coils and put a little stuffing at the base of each one.
Roll up and place each roll inside a buttered oven dish.
Sprinkle everything with melted butter and bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.
Once the kataifi is baked, sprinkle everything with the honey syrup prepared at the beginning.
You can also stuff with other dried fruit.
The kataifi is excellent with pistachios and almonds instead of walnuts.

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookies

Don’t you love the smell of homemade oatmeal cookies baking in the oven!

Once a month I contribute a skinny dessert recipe to Dash Recipes[1]. If you love a moist, chewy oatmeal cookie, you’ll just love these! Under 200 calories, and 5 points plus for 2 cookies. Please visit Dash Recipes for the complete Skinny Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Cookies Recipe[2].

I usually use quick oats in my oatmeal cookies because I prefer the end result, but rolled oats will work just fine in any of these recipes.  

For the chocolate lover, these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies[3] will hit the spot!

For the pumpkin obsessed! These chewy, Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Cookies[4] made with quick oats, pumpkin, and chopped pecans will bring delight with every bite.

And my personal favorite, Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies[5] taste like banana nut bread, but in a cookie.

Enjoy!

References

  1. ^ Dash Recipes (www.dashrecipes.com)
  2. ^ Skinny Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Cookies Recipe (bit.ly)
  3. ^ Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)
  4. ^ Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Cookies (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)
  5. ^ Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)

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