Morel and mascarpone omelette

Mushrooms were always taken for granted in my childhood. I lived in a small village and my father loved foraging. Although that time you didn’t really have to go to the forest for produce. We had everything at home in our vegetable garden which was really big. Taking center point a big walnut tree with my all-time favorite autumn welcoming green walnuts.

So my father went off for long searches for mushrooms. Seriously if you ask me about the most memorable thing from my childhood, I would say pickled mushrooms. I actually started not liking this whole mushroom thing because there was way too much of it. And it meant I had to help. Yes, your feeling is right. I was not the kitchen fairy when I was a kid. I was so not interested. I had more important things to do. Like taking dogs home from the street. Luckily our village was small. With not many stray dogs. But still, there were a few….

So back to the mushrooms. As I said in my childhood mushrooms were given. Plenty. Free. Not like today. They cost a lot. Especially morels. So when I buy them I make them special. Making sure to highlight them in a dish, and not to overcook and not to hide their taste and beauty.

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A really good way to use morels is in a rich, decadent omelette with herbs and serve it with some green leaves and a simple lemon vinaigrette.  I used micro herbs, arugula leaves and blossoms but you can have any kind of salad leaves. This omelette will be rich and creamy so you will definitely need a salad with vinaigrette.

When I went to culinary school omelette had a real importance to it. Being able to make a really good omelette will show your skill, understanding of technique and essentially will tell people that you are a good cook. I personally don’t think it is a difficult thing to make right but you definitely have to know what a good omelette looks like so you know what you are going to need to achieve. Omelette is not a scrambled egg or a frittata. You are not stirring it in the pan or baking it in the oven. It is a quick process, only a few minutes and you will have to end up with a bit of crust outside, wobbly center.

For a detailed technique and pictures visit this site, I think it will help in case you have problems.     http://www.incredibleegg.org/cooking-school/egg-cookery/make-an-omelet

I took this close up shot of my omelette so you have the feeling what is should look like.

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Ingredients

  • about 1/4 cup of whole tiny morels or chopped big one (you can substitute with other, strong, woody mushroom)
  • 2T butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1T mascarpone
  • 1/2T mixed chopped parsley and chives
  • salt, ground pepper

Instruction

  1. In a bowl blend eggs, mascarpone and herbs thoroughly with a fork and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1T butter in a 6 inch pan. Once butter starts coloring add cleaned, dried morels.
  3. Sautee morels for a minute and when it is done season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour morels with the butter into a small bowl, ready to use.
  5. Put pan back on stove with the other tablespoon of butter.
  6. When butter stops sizzling slowly pour egg-mascarpone mix  into the center of the pan.
  7. Tilt the pan to spread the egg mixture evenly. Let eggs firm up a little and then gently direct the mixture away from the from the middle, making space with a spatula at the edges and to flow to the space on the edges.
  8. After this point let it cook and when you see the surface is 90% cooked, add filling and fold omelette very quickly.
  9. Slide omelette onto a plate.
  10. Serve it with a fresh green salad and lemon vinaigrette.

For advice on vinaigrette visit my previous post:  https://bornunderthesun.com/2016/05/11/215/

Why did I use micro greens and herbs?

For their look and nutrients. Microgreens are young seedling of vegetables and herbs and they come in all colors and shapes depending on the vegetable/herb and they are richer in nutrients than their “parents”.

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Spring in a bowl

Vignole with artichoke ravioli

DSC_2995.jpgVignole, originated in Rome, is a spring vegetable stew.

According to the original recipe the vegetables are cooked in a stock, making it into a stew. When I came home from the Santa Monica Farmers Market with all these beautiful, fresh, bright green and nutrient dense vegetables I decided to change the original recipe.

 

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artichoke, english peas, asparagus, fava beans, parsley and mint the green components of the dish

Why? Well, first of all I wanted to keep the color and nutrient of the vegetables.

So I made a vegetable stock and then cooked these bright green veggies only for a few minutes. This way I had a flavorful stock and crisp, tasty, beautiful vegetables.

At the same time I felt the artichoke somehow is not fitting the picture because it needs definitely more cooking. So the idea came to add those as a ravioli, making a satisfying and comforting, yet fresh plate of spring beauties.

I like making my own stock, however I understand that most of you are busy. So instead of making a stock from scratch you might want to make a shortcut with a stock.

As for me, I started making a vegetable stock with sweet onion, leek, garlic and parsley. To make sure the flavor of the stock is in line with the vegetables, added the emptied pea pods and the cleaned, halved artichoke. Vegetable stock doesn’t need more than 40-60 minutes cooking, so by that time the artichokes cooked perfectly.

If you didn’t make the ravioli dough beforehand, it is time now, while the stock is cooking and you will still have time to let it rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

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Then I strained the stock and took the artichokes out. Using only the artichoke hearts, adding some ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and lemon juice, blended it together. When everything was ready, boiled the stock, added salt and cooked the fresh peas, asparagus and fava beans for a few minutes. Finished the stew with chopped mint, parsley, grated lemon zest and generous amount of grated pecorino.

If you can not make your own stock this is how I suggest you do it. Make sure you get some low sodium quality stock and cook the artichoke, empty pea pods with the parsley in the stock. Also if you don’t want to make your own ravioli dough, you can buy fresh lasagne sheets or wonton wrappers. They will work. But of course, your pasta dough would be the best 🙂

Vignole with artichoke ravioli for 4 persons

Ingredients

For the stock

  • 2 T light olive oil
  • 1 chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 chopped leek
  • 3 parsley springs
  • 2 handful of emptied pea pods
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • 2 halved, cleaned artichokes
  • 1/3 cup of white wine
  • 3 cups water

For the vegetable stew

  •  4 cups of stock
  • 1 pound cleaned, blanched fava beans
  • 1 pound english peas (without the pod)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus chopped to match size of fava beans approximately
  • 1T chopped parsley and mint
  • zest of half lemon
  • 1/2 cup or more pecorino
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pea tendril and/or pea blossom for plating

For the ravioli dough (you can use your own recipe if you made ravioli before)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1t salt
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water

For the ravioli filling

  • 2 cooked  artichoke hearts
  • 1 grated garlic
  • 2 T ricotta (adjust if you prefer more creamy)
  • 1 T Parmigianno Reggiano
  • salt, pepper, cayenne and lemon juice to taste.

Instruction

  1. Make the stock with the listed ingredients above. Or if you have stock, add only emptied pea pods, few parsley springs and cleaned, halved artichoke and cook until artichoke is ready.
  2. For the ravioli add flour in a deep bowl. Add egg, salt, water and oil in the middle and mix and gradually, with your fingers mix the flour into the wet ingredients. When sticks together take the dough out and put on your floured kitchen counter. Kneed it for approximately 10 minutes. Form a ball, cover with cling film and let it rest at least for 30 mins in the fridge.
  3. Time to make the artichoke filling. Add artichoke, ricotta,and parmesan in a blender or just smash the artichoke with a fork and mix thoroughly with other ingredients. Season with the smashed garlic, salt, black pepper and lemon juice.
  4. In the meantime the stock is ready. Take out artichokes and strain the stock.
  5. Bring the clear stock to a boil again, add salt and add the fava beans, peas and asparagus. Cook it for a few minutes and only and when you turn the heat off, add chopped parsley, mint and grated lemon zest and pecorino. Make sure your end result is a stew, lots of veggies in little liquid, preferably thickened with the pecorino.
  6. Roll the dough in a pasta maker ravioli setting, and make raviolis with artichoke filling.
  7. Cook the raviolis in salted, boiling water for 2 minutes.
  8. Serve the stew in a deep bowl, with a few raviolis, depending on size and hunger, and top it with grated pecorino, chopped mint, parsley, pea tendrils and pea blossom if you have them.