Friday, April 29, 2016

Fresh Asparagus Salad with Buratta, Pancetta, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Bread Crumbs and Tiny Tomatoes

The creamy rich Burrata Cheese is completely hidden under the Asparagus

The Bounty of the Comfort Family Farm on
Lumber Lane in Bridgehampton starts
with their first Asparagus crop of the season.
         The first Asparagus of the season is about to make its appearance after our long, cold Spring. I was driving along past one of the farm stands we go to all summer, when I saw the first spears standing totally alone on what is usually a cart laden with produce. As you can see in this Fall picture, the Comfort Family’s farm grows all kinds of good things. But there are few things in life I look forward to more than the arrival of those first tender shoots of asparagus.  The delicious flavor of the vegetable is matched by the glorious green color it takes on when cooked.  We’ll have plenty of it for the next month. And then it will disappear until next Spring.  I’ll buy it in the off-season but those spears will pale when compared to the delicious fresh flavor of the local stuff.  Now, how to make it a whole meal?  A complete dinner for two?  It was actually very easy.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Jacques Pépin's Poulet a la Crème (Chicken in Cream Sauce)


I have expressed my affection for Jacques Pépin and his latest cookbook “Heart and Soul in the Kitchen” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015).  This book is filled with recipes that are more at home at home than they are in restaurants.  One of his dishes is such a favorite of mine that I’ve made it several times now: It’s his recipe for Chicken in Cream Sauce.  It is the best of French country food, an amazingly satisfying dish combining heavy cream and mushrooms and wine with fork-tender chicken.  It’s a triumph of simple cooking requiring nothing more than browning the chicken and making the sauce all in one pan and in all of about 30 minutes. Its genesis was in Chef Pépin’s mother’s kitchen in the town of Bourg-en-Bresse. And if you know anything about French chickens that name should ring a bell.