Category Archives: Vegetables

Those Prosciutto Asparagus Bundles—Some Tips

Blog posts for bundles of asparagus wrapped in prosciutto are ubiquitous. Some are roasted until the prosciutto is crispy and some are wrapped at the last minute, after only the asparagus are cooked. I’ve even seen some that have cheese either under or on top of the prosciutto. Whatever kind you’re looking for, here are a few tips to save you some headaches:

  1. Precook the asparagus before roasting. Just a 2-3 minute simmer will cook the asparagus enough that it won’t be tough after a short time in the oven to crisp up the whole bundle. I don’t think I would use the very fat stalks, but if you have to, you should probably peel them before simmering.
  2. If like the prosciutto I always find, yours tears into pieces just trying to separate them—even when they have paper or plastic between the slices—don’t panic. Prosciutto pieces will stick to themselves and you can easily piece them together. Every single one of my slices tore into three identical pieces, one small square, one long straggly strip, and one nice looking rectangle that was large enough to go around the bundle itself. So I put the ugly duckling pieces on the inside and wrapped the big rectangle around the whole thing. No one would be the wiser, if I actually had company, instead of being in self-quarantine with just my husband.

I brushed mine with olive oil and roasted them at 400º for about 20 minutes.

Still Eating, If Not Writing

What’s been for dinner lately:

Sheet pan pizza with prosciutto, Parmesan, and white sauce. The crust is from America’s Test Kitchen’s “Pizza al Taglio with Arugula and Mozzarella,” but I baked it with a Parmesan/garlic white sauce, fresh mozzarella, baby spinach, and prosciutto. [There’s a paywall on this site.]

Beef stir fry. This is just a version of the one I make on the grill in the summer, with more veggies. I used some steamed frozen broccoli to avoid the longer cooking that fresh broccoli requires.

Rigatoni and butternut squash casserole with pancetta and Parmesan. Just like the one I’ve made before with bacon, but I find the pancetta to be milder and less overpowering than the bacon.

Boston Cream Pie—made this for my husband’s birthday. Specifically the Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie from America’s Test Kitchen. One word of caution: The written recipe omits the most important line from the video. When making the pastry cream, you don’t stop when bubbles break the surface; you continue whisking until the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the pan, sort of like when making jam. Otherwise the pastry cream will be runny. It’s a delightful cake. [There’s a paywall on this site.]

Peach Poblano Jam

We switched to a different variety of poblanos in the garden this year. Last year’s would have been way too hot for this jam, although if you like a jalapeno jelly, you might like the heat. This year’s poblanos started turning red much quicker and are mild enough that you get a chance to taste the pepper. The result in the jam is that you don’t get any heat at first, but then it starts showing up as an afterthought. We kind of liked that.

If you have hotter poblanos, whether or not you like that effect or not, you might consider using fewer in your jam.

My husband says he would eat the jam on biscuits, but I’m mostly planning to serve it with pork or chicken. I think it could work in a fajita as well. Anything savory where a little sweet would complement.

I looked at a lot of recipes for peach jam to compare the amounts of sugar used. For my 3.5 lbs of peaches, I settled on 3 cups of sugar. I didn’t want to use pectin, and I found a number of recipes that didn’t, but I found their cooking directions to be way off—some said to cook it for as little as 10 minutes!! Mine cooked for about as long as my tomato jam, because I was looking for that moment when the wooden spoon dragged a clear path in the jam.

How I decided on the number of poblanos to use is still a mystery to me. I used 4, cut in a small dice. It was enough that they are well distributed throughout like little red jewels. 👍

Peach Poblano Jam

  • Servings: about 5 cups
  • Difficulty: time-consuming
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Ingredients

  • 3.5 lbs peaches (peeled and seeded weight); 16 medium peaches
  • 10 oz poblano peppers (seeded weight); 4 peppers
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Blanch peaches for 1-2 minutes and cool in ice water. Peel peaches and remove pits.
  2. You can chop the peaches by hand to your desired size or pulse them in a food processor or both. I did both, giving me enough tiny pieces to make a thick jam base, with some larger pieces for texture.
  3. Mix peaches, diced peppers, sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a large stock pot. Some recipes let the mixture sit to draw out the fruit’s juices first, some for as long as overnight. I didn’t wait, and that could have affected my cooking time.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer that keeps the mixture bubbling without a lid. On my gas burner, it’s the LOW setting.
  5. Stir occasionally until the mixture stops foaming and begins to thicken. That happened for me after 1 hour. It just clicked over like a switch.
  6. After the jam begins to thicken stir more often to prevent sticking until you can drag a wooden spoon through it and it leaves a trail in the bottom of the pan. That took another hour. It all depends on how juicy your peaches are. Just keep at it and it will thicken. I set up my thermometer, because I was curious. It hovered at about 175º until the end.
  7. Spoon into clean jars or containers and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks or freeze. I can’t advise you on canning.

Roasted Slaw

Once I started roasting vegetables, whether on the grill or in the oven, it became my preference. Roasting brings out natural sweetness while keeping crispness and sometimes adding a little char. In the winter, I’m not really in the mood for cold veggies, so I didn’t see why slaw had to be cold. I like cooked cabbage, but the trick for a cooked slaw is to keep it slightly crisp, and roasting can do that for you.

This slaw can be eaten warm or cold, as long as you stick to a dressing with no fats that will congeal on chilling. That means that bacon/bacon fat—which would be great in a warm slaw—might not work with cold leftovers. My dressing here only uses fruit juices for the acid, so it’s not as tart as a vinegar based dressing. As far as uses go, it would be good as a side dish or on any sandwich where you would use a traditional cold slaw. You can see it below on a fried fish sandwich with my Everything Sauce.

Mine is a simple slaw of cabbage and carrots, but you could add bits of any vegetable or fruit that would not become watery or mushy.

Roasted Slaw

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 400º; line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 cups cabbage, sliced or coarsely grated—1 small head
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for roasting—enough to drizzle over all on the sheet pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mashed roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, with zest if you have the actual lime in hand
  • I tablespoon honey—you really have to taste to see how sweet you want it
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

  1. Spread the shredded cabbage and carrots on the baking sheet. It will be about 1/2″ thick, but you will toss it halfway through the roasting. Drizzle with olive oil—I think I used at least 1/4 cup. Sprinkle with kosher salt and coarse black pepper.
  2. Roast for about 20 minutes, then lightly toss with tongs to expose more of the vegetables to charring. Roast for another 15 minutes or until it reaches your desired doneness. Lift the parchment paper and pour the vegetables into a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients—garlic, orange juice, lime juice, honey, and olive oil—until emulsified. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Add more salt to taste.
  4. Serve warm or cold or both.