Fava Bean Orzo
from the San Francisco Chronicle, adapted from a recipe by Lissa Kane, executive chef at the Piatti restaurants in Mill Valley and Carmel
About 1 3/4 pounds unpeeled fava beans
2 stalks green garlic, cleaned and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoons
1 pound orzo pasta (riso or pastina pastas may be substituted)
1/4 cup white wine
7 cups warm chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon kosher salt or to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or thyme
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, + more to taste
Heat a large pot of salted water to boil, and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Remove all of the fava beans from their pods, then blanch them in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how fresh they are and how large. Drain them and plunge them immediately into the ice water until cool. Slip the beans out of their skins. Set aside 1 cup of the beans, then puree the rest of the beans in a food processor. You should have around 1/4 cup of puree.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, saute the green garlic in the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until softened. Add the orzo and stir to completely coat the pasta grains. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add 1 cup of warm stock and stir continually so that the pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the liquid is absorbed, add another cup of stock and continue stirring. Repeat this process, adding stock 1 cup at a time until the orzo is al dente (about 10 to 12 minutes). Add the whole fava beans, salt and pepper and thyme.
Mix well and then remove from the heat and cover for three minutes.
Add the remainder of the butter, the 1/4 cup cheese and the fava bean puree. Serve the orzo with more cheese, if desired.
Asparagus Frittata With Creme Fraiche & Chives
from the San Francisco Chronicle
1 pound asparagus
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons half-and-half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, minced, or 2 spring onions, bulbs and tender green parts chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/3 cup minced fresh chives
1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream, for garnish
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard. Steam the spears in a steamer rack over boiling water until they turn bright green and are tender, but not soft, and a fork easily penetrates the thickest part, about 5 to 8 minutes, depending upon thickness. Remove and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Pat dry then slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, half-and-half, salt and pepper and beat until just blended. In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, add the onion and saute until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
Sprinkle the asparagus evenly over the bottom of the skillet, then pour the egg mixture over. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the eggs are just firm around their edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, lift the edges of the eggs and tilt the skillet so the uncooked eggs run beneath. Continue cooking until the egg mixture on top is nearly set, another 4 to 5 minutes or finish the top by placing under a broiler for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Invert a flat plate on top of the skillet and holding the platter and the skillet together firmly with potholders, flip them to turn the frittata out onto the plate.
Sprinkle half the parsley and chives into the skillet then slide the frittata back into the skillet with the cooked-side up. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and invert a flat plate over the pan and flip them as before.
Cut the frittata into 1-inch squares, arrange them on a serving platter and garnish each square with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of the remaining chives and parsley.