Guys, hanging out on a roof on a Friday spring evening is fun. I highly encourage it.
If hanging on roofs isn’t your thing this spring, can I suggest something else?
I’m going to be that food blogger and tell you: “Oh, this old thing? Why, I only make this when I don’t know what to make.”
But seriously. When you take fresh produce and cook them together for a bit and add something zesty, it’s hard to go wrong. Even if you think you can’t just whip up something, you can. K?
Inspired by a sauteed spinach dish from Boqueira
Notes: This is sort of a warm salad, sort of a side dish, and all kinds of delicious. Be sure to have all the ingredients prepped beforehand, as they get thrown in the pan pretty quickly. To make a light meal out of the Spring Hash, serve with some bread (a sourdough variation of this bread is pictured) and olive oil for dipping. Of course, a fried or poached egg would feel right at home on a bed of these greens, too. And if you don’t have these exact ingredients, don’t fret – this recipe is made for compromisin’. (Doon doon doon doon doon doon doon doon.)
- 1 bunch of spinach (or about two cups of packed spinach leaves), roughly chopped
- 4 – 5 leaves of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks (leaving the heads intact, just because it’s prettier that way)
- onion, chopped, to taste
- something crunchy – sliced almonds, chopped cashews, or pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup raisins (golden, preferably)
- pickled vegetables, if you have any and want to add them
- 1/4 cup (or so) apple cider vinegar (or another vinegar of your choosing, but I’d stay away from a heavy balsamic for this one)
- 1 – 2 tablespoons mustard – I used a ramp mustard, but I think a grainy dijon or something like that would be good too.
- salt and pepper, to taste
- herbs to sprinkle on top, if you have them – chives, lemon thyme, or parsley, for example
- olive oil
1. Toast your crunch (nuts, pepitas, etc.) – I like to toast them in a dry skillet for 5 – 10 minutes, shaking the pan every so often to ensure they don’t burn. You could also toast them in the oven on a baking sheet – detailed instructions here. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and mustard; taste and adjust ratio to your liking. Set your crunch and the vinegar-mustard aside.
2. Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add your onion and sauté until softened and beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins. Add the asparagus, stir to coat in olive oil and add more oil if needed. Cook a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until asparagus turns bright green and begins to soften, but still has some crunch. Add the kale, stir to coat, cook 1 minute more. Add spinach and vinegar-mustard, stir to coat everything. Add more vinegar-mustard if you’d like it to be more saucy. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in the crunch, add any additional add-ins such as pickled veggies, chopped tomatoes, or whatever you fancy. Taste and add salt and pepper as you like.
4. Dish up! Garnish with herbs, scallions, or a grate of cheese.
Need more spring-time food inspiration? I thought you’d never ask:
- Pasta with asparagus in a creamy tomato sauce (aka Pasta con asparagi) – delicious with some chopped kale as well. (No picture because it was devoured.)
- Flatbreads with sweet potato hummus, yogurt sauce, and pickled vegetables – the kind of combination I’d never think of and will definitely make again. I’m waiting impatiently for our farmers market to get sugar snap peas, so I can make these and add them, too.
- Pasta with kale, pinto beans, and pepitas in a chipotle-yogurt sauce – inspired by this post but with a few tweaks.
- Last but not least, something to sip on: make your own ginger liqueur. I followed the recipe almost exactly, but used lemon zest instead of orange and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean. Next time I make it (and from the looks of it, that will be soon) I might reduce the sugar a teensy bit. I know a liqueur is supposed to be sweet, but the beauty of making your own is that it doesn’t have to be. My favorite way (so far) to use the liqueur: In a tall glass add 1 shot liqueur, 1 shot rum (Mt. Gay Eclipse, to be exact), a few dashes of bitters (preferably Angostura), and a squeeze of lime. Stir, fill half of glass with ice. Top with ginger beer, stir. It’s like a dark and stormy, but, well, stormier.*
I’ll leave you with that – the stormier drink is calling my name, and the last three episodes of Arrested Development are itching to be watched. Speaking of Arrested Development, check back on Monday for a special, Bluth-filled post. It’s sure to be a mouthful.
*That was totally a reference to a June 2011 post on Gilt Taste entitled “The Classic Dark ‘n Stormy, Made Stormier” and I went to go find the link so that I could share it with you but IT’S GONE! I’ve been wondering if something had gone awry with Gilt’s recipes, as they hadn’t updated since last fall, but now I can’t find any of the recipes. Anyone out there know what happened? Did I just miss the giant, flashing link that says “GILT TASTE RECIPES ARE STILL HERE” in my panic-ridden state? In any case, I have a cached version of that post, which, more to the point, contains a recipe for homemade ginger beer. Stay tuned.