Anne Le Blanc’s Pistachio Avocado {FFwD}

Pistachio Avocodo

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is hardly a recipe; it’s more a set of assembly instructions. If fact, Dorie says in the introduction that she almost didn’t include this one in the book. Man, am I glad she did!

The hardest part of the whole operation was finding pistachio oil. I checked two health food/specialty stores in the area, but neither had it. Our local grocery chain has a pretty nice specialty foods selection, so I checked there, and voila! It was crazy expensive ($16 for 8 ounces), but I had searched so hard for it, I decided to splurge. You can also make your own pistachio oil, as several of the Doristas were planning to do for this recipe.

In addition to the pistachio oil, the recipe calls for an avocado, lemon juice, and coarse sea salt. You slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, and drizzle the flesh with lemon juice, squeezing a little into the cavity, too. After sprinkling coarse sea salt over the flesh, you fill the cavity almost to the top with pistachio oil. And that’s it.

Words can scarcely describe how good this was. I was going to share one of the halves with my daughter, but I ate the whole thing before she got to the kitchen. It was slightly sweet, salty, unctuous, oily (in a good way), nutty, toasty, in a word, DELICIOUS!!!

I’m grateful to Dorie for introducing me not only to this recipe (and yes, Dorie, I think it qualifies as a recipe) but also to pistachio oil. When I first opened the oil and tasted it, I wondered how I had lived my entire life up to now without it.

Needless to say, I will be making this recipe again. In fact, I’ve already made it twice; and I have one more avocado ripening on the counter.

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Asparagus Soup {FFwD}

Asparagus Soup

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie just screams “Springtime!” It’s light, flavorful, and bursting with asparagus flavor.

The soup consists of asparagus (lots of it), onion, garlic, shallot, leeks, olive oil, butter, salt, and white pepper. I started by snapping the asparagus to remove the woody part at the base, then peeling the stalks (seriously, who does that?). I tied the peels and stems in a cheesecloth, then boiled the asparagus, stalks, and peels in boiling water. I removed the asparagus after about four minutes, reserving the water and discarding the stalks and peels.

Next, I heated olive oil in the pot. I was using a butter-infused olive oil, so I left out the butter called for in the recipe. I added the onion, garlic, shallot, and leeks, salted and peppered them, and cooked them low and slow until they were soft and glistening. I added back six cups of the asparagus water, simmered for a while, then dropped the asparagus back in.

After everything had cooked a bit more, I puréed the soup in two batches in my Vitamix. I thought the first batch looked a bit too watery, so I left most of the liquid out of the second batch. When I mixed it all together, it was a beautiful color and consistency.

The recipe says that the soup can be served hot or cold. I wanted to try it right away, so I served it hot with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of olive oil. I found it slightly bland, but a little sprinkle of cayenne pepper solved that problem.

I’m interested to try this soup cold, but I really enjoyed it hot. It was smooth, silky, and brimming with Springtime flavors.

Creamy Mushrooms and Eggs {FFwD}

AMFT Cover

Although I haven’t been participating in French Fridays with Dorie (or any other bake- or cook-along group) recently, I happened by the website the other day, and this recipe was enough to pull me back in. Mushrooms, cream, and poached eggs (singing: these are a few of my favorite things) on top of toasted brioche — I mean, what’s not to love?

This recipe was as simple as it was delicious. Cleaning the mushroom caps and chopping the mushrooms, shallot, rosemary, and mint were the most time-consuming parts of the whole process. After that, it was just a matter of adding everything to the pan in the right order while Mom poached some eggs.

Once I had my mise en place, I began by heating olive oil and melting butter in a sauté pan. I dropped in the shallot and sautéed it for a few minutes, then added the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Once the mushrooms had given up their liquid and begun to soften, I added cream and let it simmer away for a few minutes while I sliced up the brioche and started toasting it. Finally, I removed the pan from the heat and stirred in rosemary and mint.

By that time, Mom was finished poaching the eggs (perfectly, I might add), and we plated everything. We put a slice of brioche on the plate, topped it with a nice spoonful of mushrooms and the poached egg, and then finished it off by spooning the mushroom cream over the top.

Everyone agreed that this was a perfect Sunday supper — simple, homey, filling, and insanely delicious.

I’m glad to be back cooking with my friends for French Fridays. I can’t say for sure how many recipes I will make, or if I’ll post many or any of them. But I have already made next week’s Coupetade. And I love both asparagus and avocado. So there’s a good chance I’ll be around at least for the month of May.

Bon appetite!