More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails by Susan Reigler [pdf | 29,43 Mb] ISBN: 081316768X

  • Full Title: More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails
  • Autor: Susan Reigler
  • Print Length: 124 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication Date: July 6, 2016
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081316768X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813167688
  • Download File Format | Size: pdf | 29,43 Mb
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Ninety-five percent of the world’s bourbon whiskey is produced in Kentucky, and the drink is as distinctive to the state as Thoroughbred horses and Bluegrass music. As America’s native spirit enjoys booming popularity worldwide, award-winning bartender Joy Perrine and celebrated restaurant critic and drinks writer Susan Reigler return to offer new recipes that will delight both the cocktail novice and the seasoned connoisseur.

Following up on their best-selling The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, the duo returns with more reasons to appreciate bourbon whiskey. This mouthwatering volume features more than fifty delicious new concoctions―including variations on classics such as the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan―and even adds a splash of Kentucky flavor to mojitos, sangria, lemonade, and coffee. It also serves up recipes from leading bartenders, prizewinning drinks from cocktail competitions, and a bourbon-inspired buffet featuring edibles that will be a feast for aficionados. The useful bourbon glossary and bibliography will appeal to professional or at-home bartenders eager to experiment, invent, and savor their own recipes.

 

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Perrine and Reigler’s use of specialized and craft products answer the need for information regarding craft drink creation. Perrine and Reigler have doubled down on this must have bourbon cocktail book; sharing their own recipes and those of award-winning bartenders.”―Albert W. A. Schmid, author of The Manhattan Cocktail: A Modern Guide to the Whiskey Classic

“This book is more than a collection of bourbon recipes essential to those who mix cocktails at bars and restaurants or consume it at home at parties and during the cocktail hour. It contains a useful glossary relating to bourbon as well as a selected bibliography that will feed the interest of aficionados.”―Richard Taylor, former poet laureate of Kentucky and author of Sue Mundy, A Novel of the Civil War

“This pretty little book proves they know their cocktails.”―Louisville Courier Journal

About the Author

Joy Perrine is the bar manager emerita at Equus Restaurant and Jack’s Lounge in Louisville. She was named Best Bartender in Louisville by Louisville Magazine and has won numerous awards for her cocktails.

Susan Reigler is an award-winning former restaurant critic and drinks writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal. A certified Executive Bourbon Steward, she is the author of Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide and coauthor of The Bourbon Tasting Notebook.

 

Keywords

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The expression Good Housekeeping as used in the title of the book is the trademark of The National Magazine Company and The Hearst Corporation, registered in the United Kingdom and USA, and other principal countries of the world, and is the absolute property of The National Magazine Company and The Hearst Corporation. The use of this trademark other than with the express permission of The National Magazine Company or The Hearst Corporation is strictly prohibited.

The Good Housekeeping website is

www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk

First eBook publication 2014

eBook ISBN 978-1-90939-747-7

Also available in paperback

Paperback ISBN 978-1-908449-93-1

The paperback edition of this book can be ordered direct from the publisher at

www.anovabooks.com, or try your local bookshop

NOTES

Both metric and imperial measures are given for the recipes. Follow either set of measures, not a mixture of both, as they are not interchangeable.

All spoon measures are level.

1 tsp = 5ml spoon; 1 tbsp = 15ml spoon.

Ovens and grills must be preheated to the specified temperature.

Medium eggs should be used except where otherwise specified. Free-range eggs are recommended.

Note that some recipes contain raw or lightly cooked eggs. The young, elderly, pregnant women and anyone with an immune-deficiency disease should avoid these because of the slight risk of salmonella.

Contents

Storecupboard Suppers

Quick and Easy Classics

Five Main Ingredients

Easy Peasy Monthly Meals

Easy Peasy Puds

Calorie Gallery

Index

Storecupboard Suppers

Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 20 minutes

200g (7oz) cooked skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces

200g (7oz) frozen mixed vegetables

300g can cream of tomato soup

175g (6oz) self-raising flour, plus extra to dust

½ tbsp baking powder

50g (2oz) mature Cheddar, grated

75ml (3fl oz) milk, plus extra to brush

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

½ tbsp vegetable oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4

Calorie Gallery

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) mark 6. In a medium bowl, stir together the cooked chicken, frozen vegetables, soup and some seasoning. Pour the mixture into a 1 litre (1¾ pint) shallow ovenproof dish and put to one side.

2 Sift the flour, baking powder and a large pinch of salt into a large bowl. Stir in most of the cheese. Beat the milk, egg and oil together in a separate bowl.

3 Pour the milk mixture into the flour bowl and use a cutlery knife to bring it together until the dough forms clumps. Add a splash of milk if it looks too dry.

4 Tip the dough on to a lightly floured worksurface and pat it into a rough 9cm × 15cm (3½in × 6in) rectangle. Cut the rectangle into eight equal squares, then arrange the scones on top of the chicken mixture. Brush each scone with a little milk, then sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

5 Cook for 20 minutes or until the scones are risen and golden, and the filling is bubbling and piping hot. Serve immediately.

Quorn Lasagne

Hands-on time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 hour

3 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 × 300g bags frozen Quorn mince

100ml (3½fl oz) red wine

2 × 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1½ tbsp mixed dried herbs

½ vegetable stock cube

4 tbsp plain flour

600ml (1 pint) milk

9 dried and ready-to-cook lasagne sheets

50g (2oz) mature Cheddar, grated

salt and freshly ground black pepper

salad to serve

Serves 6

Calorie Gallery

1 Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 10 minutes until softened. Turn up the heat, add the Quorn and fry for 5 minutes until golden. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.

2 Stir in the tomatoes and mixed herbs, then crumble in the stock cube and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until thick. Take off the heat.

3 Next make the white sauce. Heat the remaining oil in a small pan and stir in the flour. Cook for 30 seconds, then take off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Put the milk mixture back on to the heat. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking, until thick and glossy.

4 Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) mark 6. Spoon a third of the mince mixture into the base of a 2 litre (3½ pint) ovenproof dish. Cover with three lasagne sheets and a little white sauce. Repeat the layering process twice more, finishing with a layer of white sauce. Sprinkle over the cheese and c
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ed with fun in mind and for the home baker. The equipment required is widely available and you won’t need expensive tins that will only be used once. A stand mixer will make light work of cake mixes and buttercreams, but is not essential; a hand-held electric whisk is a good second option and good old-fashioned muscle power with a mixing bowl and wooden spoon will do almost as well.

But a party is not just about the showstopping big cake. There are small cakes and biscuits to consider and savoury snacks to keep everyone happy. Cupcakes are a perennial favourite for children of all ages and can be baked in a variety of sizes to suit hands small and large. Everyone will enjoy Jam Tarts (here) and retro Iced Gems (here), and older children will take delight in S’mores Cupcakes (here) and Blueberry Bakewell Slices (here). And there’s surely no one who can resist a Doughnut (here) or a Chocolate Swiss Roll (here).

Savoury food for parties is all about small bites with maximum flavour and nibbles that can be eaten in the hand – especially when there are important games to be played and prizes to be won! Herby Sausage Rolls (here) are classic party food and Cheese Straws (here) are a sure-fire hit, but have you ever tried Hidden Hot Dogz (here)?

Baking for a child’s party is the perfect opportunity for really letting loose with the piping bags and edible sprinkles – there’s no such thing as too much in this instance. Fantastic cake decorations are now available in most supermarkets and the selection online is amazing, with sprinkles in shapes and colours to suit every theme and budget.

Where possible, the bakes in this book are decorated with edible goodies such as shortbread biscuits iced to look like sailboats, flowers and puppy dogs. Children will love to help with the decorations where they can, whether it’s making chocolate jazzies for a Secret Centre Cake (here), spooning icing over Lemon Sprinkle Cakes (here) or scattering sprinkles liberally over just about anything.

Some Bake Off alumni have also contributed their favourite children’s party recipes. You’ll find large cakes from Holly Bell (here), Miranda Gore Browne (here) and Ian Cumming (here), biscuits from Cathryn Dresser (here) and Richard Burr (here), and savoury treats from Chetna Makan (here) and Luis Troyano (here).

BAKING TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Baking for a children’s party can be fun and creative, but at the same time daunting. Read the recipes ahead to make sure you don’t need to start any of the elements, such as sugarpaste decorations, a day or two ahead (see the Snowman, for example, on here). And remember that most of the sponges for the big cakes can be made one or two days before, or even further ahead and frozen, wrapped in cling film, for up to a month.

INGREDIENTS

The recipes in this book use the simplest ingredients to create the most flavour, but follow these basic rules to ensure your bakes are at their best when they come out of the oven. See here for more on ingredients for decorating your cakes.

EGGS

All the recipes in this book use large free-range eggs at room temperature. If you try to add fridge-cold eggs to a light and airy creamed butter-and-sugar mixture you will find that the mixture might at best take longer to combine or, at worst, curdle. If you forget to take eggs out of the fridge in time, simply leave them in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10 minutes to warm up.

BUTTER AND DAIRY

Unless otherwise stated always, always use unsalted butter for baking. Salted butter varies in flavour enormously and will greatly affect the taste of your cakes and bakes – and not necessarily for the better.

Most of the recipes in this book call for butter that has been softened at room temperature – cakes and buttercream almost always require softened butter. Most pastry and some biscuit recipes will call for the butter to be chilled.

The same applies to other dairy products, such as milk or soured cream, which should be added to mixtures at room temperature unless stated otherwise.

EQUIPMENT

It is possible to make almost all of the cakes and bakes in this book with standard kitchen and baking equipment. Most of the cake tins used are easy to find in good kitchen shops and even some larger supermarkets.

CAKE TINS AND BAKING SHEETS

For best results in baking it is important to use good-quality, solid tins and baking sheets as they are unlikely to buckle and become misshapen in the oven. They’ll conduct heat evenly, which will ensure an even rise and bake. Look out for decorative Bundt or kugelhopf tins – the better the tin, the better the result with this type and if they are non-stick then so much the better.

PIPING BAGS AND NOZZLES

Rolls of plastic disposable piping bags are indispensable. They come in a variety of sizes and are more hygienic and easier to use than traditional washable bags. The ends can be snipped to v
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hildren are born with innate taste preferences – such as an innate preference for sweet and an innate dislike for bitter. But despite these early preferences, children develop in vastly different ways according to their food environment, which is largely shaped by their parents. To start, a baby’s taste preferences form according to what she tastes in the womb and in breastmilk, which makes her mum’s diet a crucial influence on her own likes and dislikes. But once a child starts solids, her taste preferences develop according to the food that’s put on her plate.

Interestingly, scientists have done quite a bit of research into children’s food preferences and they believe that children’s early taste experiences – during their first year of life – can shape their taste preferences for years to come. For example, one study found that children who were given a sour-tasting hydrolysate formula milk in their first year were significantly more likely to prefer sour-flavoured apple juice at 4–5 years old. Although the theory is yet to be tested extensively, it appears that the first months of life may constitute a critical ‘sensitive window’ for flavour learning, potentially with lifelong consequences.

With this in mind, introducing solids as part of family meals provides the perfect opportunity to expose your child to as many different flavours as possible. By bringing your baby to the family table and simply letting her share your home-cooked meal – whether in puréed form, or as finger foods (see Adapting family meals for babies for a general guide on how to adapt family meals for babies) – you’ll help her to develop a liking for a wide range of ingredients and a taste for your home cooking. Plus, she’ll also have all the fun that comes with getting stuck into a proper meal – squishing some avocado, diving into some noodles – undoubtedly more wondrous than any toy you could buy. Compare that with a baby who only experiences packaged baby food in her first year, with such limited flavour and texture experiences, it’s no wonder that approach seems so often to produce the pickiest of eaters.

Mental health and academic performance

Once children are a bit older, and particularly during their pre-teen and teenage years, clear evidence emerges of the positive impact of family meals on their psychological wellbeing. A number of studies have found that family meals are associated with fewer depressive symptoms, fewer suicidal thoughts or attempts, better emotional wellbeing, greater life satisfaction and higher academic performance. Interestingly, this link has been found even after adjusting for demographic factors, such as wealth and education. In other words, family meals seem to offer protection against mental health problems in their own right, despite the characteristics of the particular family.

In one US study, girls who had more than seven family meals per week were almost half as likely to have attempted suicide as girls who ate no family meals. In another US study, teens who had frequent family meals were twice as likely to report having high self-esteem, a commitment to learning, being engaged at school and resisting negative peer pressure than those eating few or no family dinners.

While the psychological impact of family meals is clearest in older children, which is where most of the research has been focused to date, a recent US study found that being involved in family dinners was linked with better social-emotional health even in pre-school aged children.

Eating disorders

Numerous studies have also found that family meals help to protect children against developing an eating disorder, particularly where the atmosphere at mealtimes is positive. For example, one US study found that girls who had only one to two family meals per week were more than twice as likely to engage in extreme weight control behaviour as girls who had three to four family meals per week. Another US study similarly found that teens who had frequent family meals were half as likely to engage in binge or purge eating as those who had few or no family meals each week.

Drug and alcohol use

Family meals have been a major research focus of the US National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. According to the Center, over their years of examining how to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, parental engagement at the dinner table has emerged as ‘one of the most potent tools to help parents raise healthy, drug-free children’. In a recent study, they found that, compared to teens who have dinner with their parents five to seven times a week, teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week are three-and-a-half times more likely to say it’s okay for teens their age to get drunk and almost three times more likely to say it’s okay for teens their age to use marijuana. Similar links have been found elsewhere, with another U
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can be found in the international aisle of larger grocers, but all are available online.

FATS

Butter

Breaking with convention, we use salted butter for everything. Our motivation? It simply tastes better. Not to mention it’s simpler to keep just one variety of butter on hand for all uses, whether for toast or cooking. Our recipes are written with the extra salt of salted butter in mind (roughly ¼ teaspoon per 4-ounce stick). To use salted butter in recipes that assume unsalted, scale back slightly on other salt added during cooking. If using unsalted butter in Milk Street recipes, add a pinch more salt than specified. Butter readily absorbs surrounding flavors, so store ittightly wrapped in the refrigerator. For longer storage, it also can be frozen.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a fat we use sparingly, generally when cooking with other coconut ingredients. Its flavor is particularly good in Indian and Southeast Asian dishes, but be mindful of its low smoke point; it’s inappropriate for anything beyond a light saute. It also is excellent on popcorn.

Cooking Spray

We use nonstick cooking spray judiciously. It’s undeniably convenient and works well (the lecithin in the spray ensures even the stickiest foods release). Baking spray, which contains flour, is ideal for coating baking pans, especially the deep grooves of Bundt pans.

Grapeseed Oil

We like the neutral flavor, light mouthfeel and high smoke point of grapeseed oil. It’s our go-to choice for a neutral cooking oil.

Lard

Though it’s a four-letter word for many, we think lard has a place in modern cooking. It tastes awfully good stirred into a pot of beans or used to add flakiness to savory baked goods, such as our piadine (here). Most stores sell Armour brand lard, which is hydrogenated (in some markets, it will be easier to find Armour labeled in Spanish as “manteca”). Lately, it has become easier to find high-quality lard; look for it in jars. If you can find it, “leaf” lard has the lightest flavor. Lard stores indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer, but will absorb other flavors; wrap it well.

Olive Oil

Arguably, we use olive oil more than any other oil. In most cases, we favor full-flavored extra-virgin olive oil. Buying extra-virgin olive oil is a gamble; expense doesn’t always guarantee quality and there are few safeguards against adulterated oils. While there are, in fact, wonderful imported oils, we think California oils are generally fresher and a better bet. California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil, for example, is a terrific product that can be found in most any supermarket. Regular olive oil—not extra-virgin—is made from subsequent pressings and thus lacks the more robust flavor of extra-virgin. Its mild flavor and higher smoke point make it better for sauteing and in baked goods.

Peanut Oil

The light, nutty flavor and high smoke point of peanut oil make it particularly good for deep-frying, as with our Japanese fried chicken (here). Toasted peanut oil has a more pronounced nutty flavor.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is pressed from either raw or toasted seeds; we prefer the richer flavor of the latter, which we drizzle over many Asian dishes. As with most seed and nut oils, sesame oil is volatile and can go rancid. We recommend buying small bottles that can be used within a couple months. Sesame oil has a low smoke point and is not suitable for sauteing.

Tahini

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. Good tahini is pleasantly bitter. As with sesame oil, it can be made from raw or toasted sesame seeds. We often prefer the stronger flavor of the latter and, when possible, stone-ground varieties (the label should indicate). Tahini is fine for a month or less at room temperature, though we recommend refrigeration beyond that to maintain freshness. From hummus (here) and roasted cauliflower (here) to tahini-swirl brownies (here), we use tahini liberally. Also try stirring it into your morning yogurt with a little jam, smearing it on toast with honey or drizzling over roasted chicken or vegetables.

ACIDS

Cider Vinegar

The mildly acidic, lightly fruity flavor of cider vinegar is neutral enough to work in numerous dishes, making it a vinegar we turn to often. Flavor varies by brand; we prefer the mild, balanced flavor of Bragg Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar.

Citrus

The zest and juice of lemons, limes and oranges show up repeatedly in our cooking. They are excellent for balancing the flavors of other ingredients, especially anything heavy or fatty. A spritz of lemon or lime juice before serving also can brighten most any finished dish. When shopping for lemons and limes, look for round, plump fruit that feel heavy for their size. They also should give when squeezed; hard fruit w
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he flavor of the pepper, but if it becomes too spicy it can be removed at any point.

Shake the pan regularly so that the chicken does not stick. Turn over after 5 minutes. While the chicken is browning, finely dice the onions and crush the garlic to a paste. Keep separate and put to one side.

After 5 minutes, add half the garlic to the pan and fry for another 5 minutes, so that the garlic and chicken brown together. When given room in the pan, garlic caramelizes very quickly—this gives a lovely rich flavor and texture that attaches itself to the chicken. When the chicken has browned nicely on both sides, remove it from the pan and put to one side.

Using the same pan, slightly increase the heat to medium-high and add the diced onions and the other 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. Cook the onions for 12 minutes, stirring regularly. When they are very soft and dark, turn the heat down to medium and add the tomato paste and the remaining garlic. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes, then add the groundnut butter and stir.

Put the browned chicken back into the pan and add the stock slowly while stirring, so that it is incorporated with the sauce. Leave to cook on a low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should reduce slightly and take on a thicker consistency. Serve hot.

CHICKPEA EGUSI

In West Africa, the seeds of the egusi melon are a common component of the soups that are integral to daily life. Coarsely ground up, they thicken stews, adding texture and another layer of flavor. Egusi soup is usually prepared with fish and/or meat, but given its nutritional profile—the seeds are composed of mostly natural fats and protein—it works perfectly as a vegetarian alternative to the Groundnut stew.

Serves 4

Time: 40 minutes

3½ ounces whole egusi seeds

3 medium onions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 Scotch bonnet pepper

3 cloves of garlic

3 teaspoons salt

¾ pound plum tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ teaspoon dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon hot paprika

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

scant 1 cup vegetable stock or water

1 large red bell pepper

½ pound baby plum tomatoes

2½ cups cooked chickpeas

10 ounces baby spinach

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Roast the egusi seeds on the middle rack of the oven for 12 minutes, turning once. The egusi should be crunchy and some will have taken on a golden brown color. Remove from the oven and grind half the seeds with a pestle and mortar. Leave the rest whole and set all the seeds aside.

To make the base sauce, finely dice the onions and, in a large frying pan, gently fry in the oil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Seed and finely dice the Scotch bonnet pepper. Chop the garlic and crush to a paste with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add both to the pan and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat.

Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan with the tomato paste and dark brown sugar. Stir and taste. It should have a pleasant sweetness from the tomatoes, onions, and sugar, with a spicy undercurrent from the Scotch bonnet pepper. Add the black pepper, paprikas, and the other 2 teaspoons of salt.

Pour in the stock or water, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together. Remove from the heat and blend the base sauce. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Add the ground egusi to the base. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes. The sauce should thicken and become a creamier color as the seeds absorb liquid.

Rinse the bell pepper, then remove the stem and seeds. Cut it into ¼-inch squares. Quarter the baby plum tomatoes.

Then add the chickpeas, bell pepper, and baby plum tomatoes to the base and simmer for a final 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the spinach and the extra virgin olive oil. Serve just as the spinach begins to wilt, and scatter the reserved whole egusi seeds on top.

UGALI

Ugali is a staple made of white cornmeal eaten across much of East Africa. It is one of those everyday dishes that growing up you might not care for—I didn’t. There are cousins of this dish made with different grains across the continent (eba made from cassava, pounded yam, and fufu from a multitude of starchy crops).

It wasn’t until as an adult my cousin Kate started regularly cooking cornmeal for me that I came to appreciate it properly. In her version the cornmeal is left to cook for longer and is softer and plumper than what I was accustomed to. I favor it as an accompaniment to the Groundnut stew. These days I still make it weekly or so, and I find it real comfort food. Roll ugali into small balls with your hands and then use to scoop sauce into your mouth.

Serves 6

Time: 40 minutes

3 cups fine white cornmeal

Mix 1½ cups of cornmeal with a generous 2 cups of cold water in a deep saucepan. Put the saucepan over medium-low heat. St
us as not just a joy, but the choicest luxury, and like to pick the biggest, fattest spears. To be deprived of such a brief, seasonal pleasure is saddening. So, please be kind and respectful of this excellent enterprise – and of the asparagus, too – so it may continue year in, year out.

Traditionally cut asparagus should include the white base beneath the soil. Once well washed, these may be used along with the peel from the stalks to make wonderful asparagus soups – to be enjoyed both hot and chilled. Rice is the most successful thickener here, as potatoes can sometimes produce a gluey texture. A good asparagus soup should be limpidly smooth, a lovely pale green (from the skins added late in the cooking process) and just a touch of cream added as a final enrichment. Tarragon or chervil are good herbs to employ as secondary flavours.

A final thought concerning asparagus. There are those who insist that English asparagus is the finest in the world. I think it is wonderful too, but I would argue that all asparagus, absolutely freshly picked anywhere in the world and plunged promptly into a pan of fast-boiling salted water to cook for several minutes, will taste just as fine. Freshness, with asparagus, is all.

The artichokes grown at Secretts are the large, Breton variety, rather than the smaller, softer and purple-leafed variety most synonymous with Italy – and the Veneto, in particular. Here, in March and April, there are tiny artichokes in the Rialto market harvested from the islands of the lagoon. These are known as castraure, which literally translates as ‘taken out from’ (with connotations of castration).

The first tiny bud is cut out from the very centre of the plant, allowing future, larger artichokes to flourish through the summer –as many as twenty per plant. They are not cheap, but such a short season never is. At Harry’s Bar, six are trimmed to the size of small corks, baked with olive oil and simply served warm on a small plate. So delicious they are, I eat them very slowly using my fingers, while momentarily forgetting that they might possibly cost the price of ten pizzas, the other side of San Marco. Then again, what would I want with ten pizzas?

Warm asparagus custards with tarragon vinaig rette

The texture of these little darlings is wonderfully wobbly and delicate, so do take the greatest care when the moment of optimum set is reached. Practice makes perfect, as with all crucial cookery lore.

Serves 4

for the custards

250g asparagus

salt

a little soft butter for greasing the ramekins

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

125ml whipping cream

Maldon salt and freshly ground white pepper

for the vinaigrette

1 tbsp tarragon vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp sunflower oil

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp finely chopped tarragon leaves

Trim the stalk ends of the asparagus and peel the lower part of the stems, then cut the spears into short lengths. Cook them in boiling, well-salted water until a touch more than just tender, drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of water chilled with plenty of ice cubes. Leave until quite cold, then lift out and carefully, but thoroughly, dry in a tea towel. The asparagus will then be ready to use. The drained, cooked weight should hover around the 200g mark.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Butter four ramekins and line the base of each with a tiny disc of greaseproof paper.

Put the cooked asparagus into a blender with the eggs and egg yolks and purée until really smooth. Pour into a fine sieve suspended over a bowl and, with aid of a small ladle, force through as much mixture as possible. Stir the cream into the purée until well mixed and season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins, filling them to just below the brim.

Cover each with a round of foil and place in a deep baking dish. Pour tap-hot water into the dish until it comes at least three-quarters of the way up the sides of the moulds. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until just firm to the touch. Leave to cool until warm, but no cooler.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Simply mix together the vinegar, mustard and seasoning in a small bowl, then whisk in the oils until emulsified (add a tiny splash of hot water to aid this, if you like). Stir in the tarragon.

To serve, spoon a little of the vinaigrette onto the surface of each custard. Eat with fingers of hot buttered toast.

Asparagus with olive oil & blood orange butter sauce

The dressing here is an oily version of the butter-rich sauce known as ‘Maltaise’. Unusually diverting.

Serves 2

1 large bunch of asparagus (about 14–16 spears)

salt

for the sauce

2 large egg yolks

grated zest and juice of 2 blood oranges

75g unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

75ml extra virgin olive

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