Simple. Local. Supper.
Curry-tuck Sweet Potato Bisque with Candied Pecan Dust
Serves 4 to 6
2 ounces butter
1 large Mattamuskeet onion (or other sweet onion), chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
5 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
¼ cup crème fraîche or sour cream, optional
White pepper to taste
Candied Pecan dust (see recipe) for garnish, optional
In a soup pot, melt butter and sauté onions, carrots, ginger and curry powder until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and ½ cup of stock, reduce heat to low, cover and sweat for about 20 minutes. Add the rest of the stock, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes more. Check that the potatoes are soft all the way through, then puree with an immersion blender or a food processor. If you use the processor, wait for the potatoes to cool. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Season to taste with sea salt and white pepper. Garnish with crème fraîche and Candied Pecan dust.
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Toss pecans in butter, then roast in 300° F oven 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool.
Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt and water in a saucepan; cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Boil to 236° F, the soft-ball stage. Remove syrup from heat; add vanilla and pecans and stir until mixture is creamy. Turn out onto waxed paper and use a fork to separate pecans. These are very hot. Wait for them to cool before you sample.
If you want to make dust, put a quarter of the nuts in a plastic bag and whack a few times with a wooden mallet or give a quick whirl in the food processor. Save the rest for snacking.
Rustic Leek and Asparagus Tart
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
3 tablespoons ice water
Mix flour and salt together, then work in the butter with your fingertips until the butter is in small bits covered by dry mixture. Add drops of water until the dough comes together; add more water only if necessary. Form into a ball and flatten. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
2 pounds leeks, thinly sliced
40 stalks asparagus, tips trimmed to size of tart shell; cut remaining asparagus into ¼ inch pieces
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 egg, slightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375° F . Sweat the leeks in the olive oil or butter with a touch of sea salt in a heavy-bottom pan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently and cook until they are translucent, soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add asparagus and thyme and continue to cook until asparagus is coated with leek, about two minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
While the onions are cooling, roll out the tart dough to desired size and place in tart pans or on a lined baking sheet. Spoon the leek and asparagus mixture onto the tart shells. Next, artfully add asparagus tips and a few cracks of fresh pepper.
Brush the exposed tart dough with egg wash and bake until the crust is golden and firm, usually about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Shown above topped with shaved hard sheep’s milk cheese.
Grilled Soft-Shell Blue Crab, Arugula and Beet Salad with Mustard Drizzle
8 soft-shell crabs, cleaned and drizzled with olive oil
6 ounces arugula
6 ounces mixed field greens
1 beet, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown mustard
Cut carrot and beet into thin slices using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler. Make composed salads on four plates using greens and veggies, and dot with the goat cheese.
Make vinaigrette: Whisk together 1 tablespoon mustard and 2 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil, add a dash of sea salt and a grind of fresh pepper.
On a hot grill, place all the crabs belly side down. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, until you start to see the crab turn red. Gently turn and cook for about the same amount of time. When the crab meat under the shell on the belly becomes more solid white than translucent, they are done. Remove from fire and place hot crabs on composed cold salads. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
recipes by Amy Huggins Gaw
photographs by lori douglas