There’s not been much time for blogging for this girl lately. First there was painting, to get ready for new living room furniture. Then veggie gardening, followed by flower gardening. And in between, I’ve been working on refinishing a cool side table I found at a flea market; pictures of which I hope to post when the project’s complete!
In the midst of all of this, I’m still cooking fresh, delicious food, without a lot of fuss. It’s summertime and the living should be a little bit easy, right?
So this, my friends, is a roundup of some of the dishes I’ve been making. The photos all came from my Samsung Galaxy, so cut me a bit of slack where the quality is concerned, will you? 🙂
First up, with our influx of spring asparagus from the garden, is an easy, but beautiful asparagus frittata recipe.
Easy Asparagus with Ricotta and Capicola Frittata Recipe
- 15-16 oz. ricotta cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup freshly-shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup half and half
- fresh chives, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- a few slices of capicola, diced
- 1 lb fresh, thin asparagus spears
Preheat oven to 375°
In a bowl, whisk together everything but the asparagus. Pour into a 10-inch (or close) non-stick pan. Gently press the asparagus spears into the top of the mixture.
Bake in oven about 20 minutes, just until edges start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Don’t sweat this if you don’t have pencil-thin asparagus! Just dice up your thicker spears and add them to the mix. Maybe not as pretty but, trust me, still delicious. I’ve done it both ways and it works like a charm. If your spears are super-huge, try blanching them first.
Next up is what I call “Italian Salsa”. This is delicious simplicity at its best.
This is a recipe where you’ll just have to figure out the proportions on your own. I’ve never come close to measuring this, as sometimes I make a little and other times I make a lot. Just start off easy on the garlic…
Fresh Italian Salsa Recipe
- Fresh tomatoes, diced
- Minced garlic
- Fresh mozzarella, diced
- Fresh basil, chopped
- Olive oil
- Bread slices, either fresh or toasted
Mix everything but the bread together in a bowl and let sit for about 30 minutes, to let the flavors develop and the cheese soften. Serve on fresh or toasted bread slices.
Next on the list is grilled whole rainbow trout. Grilled seafood is one of summertime’s true pleasures and, if you usually only grill meats, I highly recommend you try this. Again, not an exact recipe, but super easy to make with stunning results. I have a fantastic fish basket that’s made for the grill, but you can do this right on the grill grates, if needed; just make sure you’ve oiled the grates well before placing the fish on.
Grilled Whole Rainbow Trout with Fresh Herbs and Lemon Recipe
- 1 whole rainbow trout, cleaned
- minced garlic
- fresh herbs of your choice (I used parsley and chives here)
- olive oil
- a few thin slices of real butter
- fresh lemon slices
In a small dish, mix garlic, herbs, olive oil and butter until well blended. Set aside and let soften.
Using a very sharp knife, make diagonal slices on the exterior of the fish, cutting just through the skin to the flesh, about 1 inch apart.
Using a brush (or your clean hands), brush the interior and exterior of the fish with your herb and garlic mixture. Place fresh lemon slices inside the fish, in a single layer. Squeeze one or two of the slices over the fish first, for extra lemon flavor.
Place fish on a hot grill and cook until skin is crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Carefully flip fish over and cook on the other side until skin is crispy all over. Remove from grill and let sit about 5 minutes before serving.
Last, but not least, is a favorite of ours: lemon and parmesan pasta. In the world of recipes, this has to be one of the easiest but tastiest recipes around. Have no doubt, this is for lemon lovers so, if you don’t like lemons, you won’t appreciate this. But if you do like lemons….oh, the sheer joy….
I’ve made lemon pasta a number of different ways and even posted another variation of it, with shrimp and broccolini, here.
Lemon Pasta with Asparagus and Seared Sea Scallops Recipe
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup freshly-grated good quality parmesan
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice – zest them first (about 4 lemons)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. spaghetti or linguine – reserve 1 cup of cooked pasta water
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil and parsley
- 1/2 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch slices and steamed just until fork-tender
- 1 lb sea scallops, cleaned and tough muscle removed
- A tablespoon of olive oil and/or butter to sear the scallops in (I prefer to use a bit of both)
In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, parmesan, lemon juice and black pepper.
Cook pasta and drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Add pasta back to pan and toss with lemon juice mixture and 1/2 cup of your reserved liquid. Add lemon zest and herbs, along with steamed asparagus, and toss well. If pasta is still a bit dry, add remaining cooking liquid. Plate, top with seared sea scallops and serve.
To sear the sea scallops (preferably while the pasta is cooking), get a good cast iron or grill pan nice and hot. Drizzle a bit of oil (I also llike to add a pat of real butter) into the pan and add your scallops, which have been patted dry. Sear well on each side until golden and starting to brown just a tad at the edges. Be sure not to crowd the pan or the scallops will steam in their liquid, instead of searing. If scallops start to brown too quickly or burn, reduce heat. When scallops are cooked all the way through, move to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Well, that’s some of what I’ve been up to this summer! How about you? Have your cooked, traveled, or been writing the great American novel? I’m sorry I’ve not had time to catch up with everyone, but hopefully I will soon.
Happy summer, everyone! Relax a little and enjoy!