We went straight from winter to summer around here, and not a moment too soon. I’m stuck in an office today instead of out enjoying perfect grilling/hanging out/whatever weather, but at least it gives me time to reflect on last weekend’s fixin’s.
We’re going to have some green on this blog and lots of it now that our local farmers’ market is back for the season! It was a bittersweet opening, as some of you know — our market is now dog-free. Poor Gil looked like a lost soul just wandering around without the boys, while I did what I always do and loaded up on good stuff to carry home. We’ll probably venture out to other markets that are dog-friendly in upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for a full report.
I felt like an appetizer to get the ball rolling, and ended up with one that would be just as good for barbecues as for a light dinner during grilling season — grilled potato rounds with radish-green pesto and shaved asparagus. It’s vegetarian, nutrient-dense and good hot or cold (though I give the nod to hot-off-the-grill because crispy grilled potatoes just can’t be beat).
It’s easily adapted to use what you have in the house. The radish-green pesto came about because I hate throwing anything away, and a pesto is just about the easiest way to use extra greens. If you don’t have radish greens or just don’t like them, use any kind of pesto you prefer. I had some garlic confit in the fridge, so I tossed the asparagus with garlic oil and lemon juice, but go ahead and use olive oil if that’s what you have.
For lunch, I rejiggered my triple-garlic pizza, adding quick-pickled wild garlic & spring onions and shaved asparagus and radish-green pesto leftovers. Really good stuff.
These quick-pickled wild garlic & spring onions were inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s pickled onions.
A thin layer of mozzarella and grated parmesan and garlic confit (natch) tied the whole pizza together. We made short work of it, I’m afraid, but I still have the makings for one more pie, which should be just the thing to kick off this next weekend.
recipe after the jump
Grilled Potato Rounds with Pesto and Shaved Asparagus
You can easily adapt any of the elements in this appetizer to suit what you have on hand. No potatoes? Try thick-sliced eggplant. Radish-greens aren’t your thing? Any kind of pesto will do, and now that I think about it, I need to try one with sun-dried tomato. If you’re not into asparagus (or just don’t like taking the time to shave it), maybe throw it on the grill instead, then cut it into manageable segments.
4 medium yukon gold potatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
Wash potatoes thoroughly, then cut into 1/2″ rounds. Parboil in lots of salted water just until they begin to soften. While potatoes are cooking, spread olive oil on a large, rimmed baking sheet and spread evenly with minced garlic. When potatoes are ready, drain and immediately place on tray, turning to coat. Let them sit for at least 1/2 hour to soak up all of the garlicky goodness, then fire up the grill. (You can also toss them with spice blends if you like, but I wanted to keep things basic.) Cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until the potatoes have nice grill marks on them and are cooked through. Liberal sampling is encouraged at this stage.
1 bunch radish greens, thoroughly washed and dried
1 clove garlic (or more, if you really like the stuff), chopped
Parmesan cheese (as much as you like)
A handful of nuts (Pistachio, almond, pine nuts all work well here. Pecans are good, but you really have to love them.)
salt to taste
Throw the first four ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well-chopped. While processor is going, add olive oil in thin stream until it’s the consistency you like. (I tend to make a thick version that I can thin out later.) Add salt to taste.
1/2 bunch thick asparagus spears, washed and dried
oil (olive oil or even flavored oils are fine)
salt & pepper
Grasp the thick, woody end of the asparagus and run a vegetable peeler down the length of the spear to make ribbons. Toss together with remaining ingredients to taste, keeping the dressing light so it isn’t a mess to eat.
Spread a little pesto on each potato round and top with a few asparagus ribbons. Devour.