Roasted Garlic Heads with Orange Butter
2 large garlic heads
salt & black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 small orange slices, 1/4-inch thick
1 French baguette, sliced
sea salt and black pepper
Using a sharp knife, slice 1/2 to 1 inch off the top of each garlic head to expose the cloves. Trim the root ends so that the heads sit flat. Place each garlic head cut side up on a piece of aluminum foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon of butter on each garlic head and top with a slice of orange. Tightly wrap and seal the garlic heads in the foil and place them in a small baking dish. Roast the garlic in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until tender. Open the foil packets and remove the orange slices. Baste the garlic heads with the accumulated juices and roast uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the heads are very tender and the tops are golden.
Slice the baguette into 1/4-inch thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes, turn and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more, until golden. (For a softer center, toast the baguette slices on both sides under the oven-broiler until golden.) Season lightly with salt and pepper, if desired. Cool on a baking rack.
To serve, place the garlic heads on a large platter with a small knife for removing the cloves. Surround the garlic with the toasted baguette slices. Serves 4 to 6.
Roasted Beets with Raspberry Butter
24 small beets (or 12 medium)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Rinse the beets well, leaving 1 inch of the tops and the roots intact. Place them in a baking dish and add about 1/3 cup of water to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and roast in a 400 degree oven until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes for small beets, 50 to 60 minutes for medium beets. Cool briefly.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, trim the tops and roots and peel. Leave the small beets whole and slice medium beets in half. Place the beets in a bowl.
Raspberry butter: melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the raspberry vinegar and sugar and stir until the mixture simmers and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the beets.
Let the beets stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.
Yellow Squash Gratin
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 pound small yellow summer squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, partially dried
In a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, but not browned. Add the sliced squash and cook until it begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk in the cream. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese, lemon thyme, salt and pepper. Add the squash mixture to the bowl and stir gently to combine.
Pour the mixture into an 8- or 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the squash and top with the breadcrumbs. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Bake the gratin in a 375 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serves 6 to 8.
Sweet Corn with Cumin-Green Chile Butter
4 small (or 3 large) ears of sweet corn, husks and silks removed
Cumin-Green Chile Butter:
1 fresh Anaheim chile pepper
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon cumin seed, coarsely ground
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the corn and cook just until tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the corn to a platter and cool to room temperature. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and place on a serving platter or in a wide, shallow bowl.
Cumin chile butter: Place the chile pepper on a baking sheet and place under the oven-broiler. Broil the pepper, turning often, until all sides are charred and blistered. Transfer the pepper to a small paper bag or plastic storage bag and let stand for about 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, scrape off the charred skin. Remove the seeds and chop the pepper into small dice. (This step may be done ahead.) Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Coarsely grind the cumin seed using a mortar and pestle, or in a spice grinder. Add the cumin and diced pepper to the butter and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Reheat the sweet corn briefly in the microwave, if desired. Pour the mixture over the corn and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Poached Eggs with Tomatoes, Garlic and Spinach
4 medium tomatoes, about 5 ounces each
1/2 cup butter
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt & black pepper, to taste
2 large bunches fresh spinach, stemmed, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Add the tomato slices to the skillet in a single layer (cook in batches if necessary) and simmer for 1 minute. Turn the tomatoes over and cook for 1 minute more. If cooking in batches, return all slices to the skillet. Add the red wine vinegar, tilt the pan to combine the juices and simmer for a few seconds more. Season lightly with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Tear the spinach into pieces and place it in a saute pan. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and cover the pan with a lid. Steam the spinach over medium-low heat until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, pressing gently to remove most of the moisture. Season the spinach with salt and pepper and keep warm.
To poach the eggs, bring a large pot of water (about 6 inches deep) to a boil over high heat. (To save time, begin heating the water while cooking the tomatoes and spinach.) Break the eggs (two at a time) into small bowls or custard cups. When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Stir the boiling water to create a swirl and quickly slip the eggs into the water. Poach the eggs (two at a time) for about 2 1/2 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks begin to thicken. Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon and drain them briefly on a plate while cooking the remaining eggs.
To assemble, place three or four tomato slices in a single layer in four pasta bowls or on large plates. Top the tomatoes with some of the cooked spinach, leaving the edges of the tomatoes showing. Arrange a poached egg on top of each bed of spinach. Spoon some of the garlic butter from the tomatoes over each serving and sprinkle with cheese. Serves 4.
Option: Add an extra poached egg for heartier appetites.
Jayni's wine recommendation: 2005 Chateau Saint Martin De La Garrigue, Bronzinelle, Couteaux Du La Languedoc.
Recipes by Jayni CareyÂ©Copyright, 2008.