Friday, May 14, 2010

White linens, Northwoods... 5/14

Carly Yuenger

Jean and I take this week's Food Friday to Bayfield, WI and the shores of Lake Superior. We'll talk to Jerry Phillips of the Rittenhouse Inn and Jim Webster, chef at Wild Rice Restaurant, about what they're doing with the freshest--and wild-picked--spring ingredients: fiddleheads, wild leeks, morels, and, of course, asparagus.

Here's one recipe from Chef Webster at the Wild Rice Restaurant, the finest dining tables in the middle of the woods. As always, be sure to share your favorite spring recipes by adding a comment below.

Chilled Asparagus Soup:
(Yield about 1 quart or 6-8 servings)

1# fresh medium asparagus, about 1 1/2 - 2 inches of hard stem end discarded, the rest sliced into 1 inch pieces. Remove 2 inches of tip end from 9 spears and reserve for garnish.

1/4 cup chopped leeks, white part only

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Quart light chicken stock (canned broth may be used, but adjust for salt)

1/2-ounce fresh basil leaves

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Sauté leeks in olive oil over medium heat until softened (about 4-5 minutes), being careful not to brown. Add broth and bring to boil. Add sliced asparagus and cook for 6 minutes. Stir in basil, allow to cook for about 10 seconds and remove from heat. Immediately add contents to blender and finely puree. Chill quickly in large stainless bowl over ice to preserve bright green color. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and refrigerate until serving. In another saucepan boil the reserved asparagus tips for 2 minutes, cool in ice water and slice in half lengthwise. Keep refrigerated.

Crab salad (approximately 6 2-oz. servings)
8 ounces lump crabmeat (canned blue crab)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of curry powder
2-3 small fresh mint leaves chopped finely
2 tablespoons créme fraîche
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate.

2 - inch round crisp (very thin baked parmesan crisp, miniature fried papadrum or Thai spring roll wrappers cut in rounds, buttered and baked for about 3 - 4 minutes) This garnish is optional if you feel it is too time consuming - but it does add a nice touch to the dish. If you can substitute another crispy thing which is fairly neutral in flavor that would be fine also.

Micro green mix or other small greenery

Créme fraîche thinned with a little cream

Basil oil (optional)

Place a molded 2-oz. portion of crab salad (an ice cream disher will work fine) in each bowl and surround with 4-5 ounces of soup. Place 3 halved asparagus spears aournd soup and dot with créme fraîche and basil oil, if using Top crab salad with crisp and garnish with micro greens. Serve.

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