Joanne Weir`s Cooking Confidence
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fettuccine with asparagus
ribbons & lemon crème fraîche
2 pounds asparagus
With its long, slender spears and flowering head, asparagus
is the most beautiful sign that spring has sprung. In this recipe,
I maintain the integrity of the asparagus by thinly shaving the
spears lengthwise with a vegetable peeler. The delicate wisps
perfectly mirror the fettuccine for a dish that is equally stunning and
delicious. Tossed with the steaming hot fettuccine at the end, the
asparagus maintains its texture and superfresh flavor. When buying
dry fettuccine, make sure you buy 100% semolina pasta.
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup crème fraîche
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
12 ounces dry fettuccine
11⁄2 cups finely grated ParmigianoReggiano
1. Cut 2 inches of the tips off the asparagus and cut those pieces diagonally
into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and boil the
asparagus pieces until almost tender and bright green, 2 minutes. Drain
immediately and set aside.
2. With the remaining asparagus spears, shave as much of the asparagus
as you can with a vegetable peeler and reserve the shavings in a bowl
(see the sidebar on p. 22). Coarsely cut the remaining centers of the
asparagus and place them in a saucepan with the chicken stock. Place
over medium heat and simmer until the asparagus is very tender and pale
colored and only 1⁄2 cup of chicken stock remains, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, combine the crème fraîche, lemon zest, and lemon
juice and season with salt. Reserve.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook
until al dente, 8 to 12 minutes, or according to the package instructions.
Drain immediately and place in a large bowl. Add the shaved asparagus,
cooked asparagus tips, chicken stock with asparagus, and a handful of
Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toss together.
5. Serve immediately garnished with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano
and a dollop of crème fraîche. Serve the remaining Parmigiano separately
at the table.
continued on p. 22
20 eat your vegetables
eat your vegetables
•Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or
•For a first course, toast some
bread and top it with goat cheese,
lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
Take a handful of sugar snap peas
and simmer them just until tender,
1 minute. Top the goat cheese with
the sugar snaps and a chiffonade
(or thin strips) of fresh mint.
•End the meal with a bowl of orange
sorbet topped with orange sections
and a drizzle of Grand Marnier.
22 eat your vegetables
in the kitchen
Working on a cutting board or
work surface, hold one spear of
asparagus in your left hand (if
you’re a righty; hold it in your
right hand if you’re a lefty).
With your other hand, shave the
asparagus into thin ribbons with
a vegetable peeler.
summer bean salad with
shrimp, mint & chive oil
cup fresh shelling beans
When I think about composing a recipe, I think about surprising
Kosher salt and freshly ground
your palate and taste buds with contrasting flavors, texture, and
even colors. That’s what makes simple cooking interesting. This
salad combines the creamy texture and subtle earthiness of fresh
shell beans with tender green beans and broiled prawns. Add a silky
smooth herb oil, made with fresh, crisp mint and snappy chives,
and top it with a salad of bitter, wiry frisée, and your palate is in
for a treat. What you will love is the impressive array of flavors and
textures that announce summertime.
1⁄2 cup plus 1⁄2 tsp. extra-virgin
1 1⁄2 pounds extra large shrimp
(26 to 30 count), peeled, deveined,
and tails left on
3⁄4 pound green beans, cut into
1 1⁄2-inch pieces
25 fresh mint leaves, plus mint
sprigs (for garnish)
cup coarsely chopped
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small head frisée or 3 cups mixed
Lemon wedges, for garnish
1. Place the shelling beans in a large saucepan and cover with water by
2 inches. Simmer over low heat until they crack just slightly when you
blow on them, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain, place in a large bowl, toss with salt,
pepper, and 1 Tbs. of the oil, and cool.
2. Heat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the
3. Place the shrimp on a baking sheet. Toss with 2 Tbs. of the oil and
spread them out into a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Broil the
shrimp for 1 to 1 1⁄2 minutes, depending on their size, then turn and broil
for another 1 to 1 1⁄2 minutes until they are pink and slightly firm to the
touch. Add to the bowl of shelling beans.
4. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the
green beans and simmer until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain. Add to the
shelling beans and shrimp.
continued on p. 94
beans, the miracle food
•Wine pairing: Un-oaked Chardonnay
or Sauvignon Blanc
•For a first course, serve a simple
pasta al brodo, which is nothing
more than a handful of tiny pasta
cooked in a flavorful chicken
broth, sprinkled with ParmigianoReggiano, and drizzled with
extra-virgin olive oil.
•Finish the meal by serving pitted
and halved cherries, topped with
a dollop of sweetened sour cream
and toasted pecan pieces.
5. In the meantime, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the mint
leaves and blanch for 20 seconds. Drain. Place the mint leaves and chives
in a blender or food processor and purée. With the motor running, slowly
add 5 Tbs. of oil and process for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and
continue to purée until the mixture is smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Add
the purée to the shrimp and beans and toss together. Season with salt
6. Whisk the remaining 1 tsp. oil and lemon juice together. Season with
salt and pepper. Toss with the frisée.
7. Mound the beans and shrimp on a large platter and top with the frisée.
Garnish with mint sprigs and lemon wedges, and serve immediately.
At the Market
Toward the later part of summer, fresh shelling beans are available at most
farmers’ markets. They are usually sold in the pod, but I have found them
shelled, which can save some time. If they are still in the pod, it’s easy
enough to remove the pod (and discard it). Fresh shelling beans are much
easier to cook than dry beans since they only need to be simmered for
about 20 to 30 minutes; dry beans need to be soaked and then simmered
for double that amount of time.
beans, the miracle food
warm moroccan chicken
& sweet potato salad
For the chicken
This potato salad is like no potato salad you’ve ever tasted.
3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
(1 1⁄2 to 2 pounds total)
Each component is delicious in its own right, so combining them
makes a show-stopping dish. Like most Moroccan recipes, this one
features a variety of aromatic spices, so your taste buds are in for
an exotic treat. While the salad is a nice weeknight meal, it also is
perfect when entertaining if you cook the chicken ahead of time and
reheat it before combining all the ingredients.
Thanks to my South Australian chef friend, Mark McNamara, for
1 tsp. mild curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
tsp. kosher salt
For the salad
2 tsp. mild curry powder
1 Tbs. ground cumin
7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1⁄2 pounds sweet potatoes,
peeled and cut into 3⁄4-inch dice
(about 3 cups)
cup whole almonds with skin,
cup pumpkin seeds
Cook the chicken
1. Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Place the chicken in a
large saucepan with the curry powder, cumin, and salt. Cover with water
and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until
the chicken is tender, 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and discard the
liquid. Let the chicken cool.
2. When the chicken is cool, remove the meat from the bone and tear into
pieces. Set aside.
1 1⁄2 Tbs. cumin seeds
cup red-wine vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded,
4 green onions, white and green
parts, thinly sliced
cup chopped fresh cilantro
stems, plus 3 cups fresh
Make the salad
1. Heat the oven to 375°F.
2. Mix the curry powder, cumin, and 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt. Toss half of the spice
mixture with 1 Tbs. of oil and the sweet potatoes. Spread in a baking pan
and roast until tender, 30 minutes.
3. Toss the almonds and pumpkin seeds with the remaining spice mixture
and 1 Tbs. of oil, place on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until the
almonds and pumpkins seeds are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.
continued on p. 138
not your average chicken recipes
•Wine pairing: Gewürztraminer or
•To start, serve pita chips with spicy
carrot dip scented with cumin,
cayenne, and ginger.
•For dessert, serve ginger cookies
with mint tea.
4. For the dressing, place the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over
medium-high heat and toss until they are aromatic and begin to crackle,
30 to 40 seconds. Remove from the heat and place in a small bowl. Add
the vinegar, garlic, and remaining 5 Tbs. of oil.
5. When the potatoes are done, add the chicken pieces, almonds, pumpkin
seeds, tomatoes, green onions, chopped cilantro, and half of the dressing;
mix well. Place the salad in the center of a serving plate. Drizzle the
remaining dressing around the plate and scatter with cilantro leaves.
in the kitchen
Poaching chicken—simply placing chicken in a pan of water and cooking
until tender—is an easy technique that gives you two results in one. You
get not only succulent, juicy meat but also delicious flavorful stock. Before
poaching, remove any skin from the chicken so that you won’t have as
much fat to skim from the finished broth. Vary the ingredients you cook
with the chicken to get different-flavored broth. Your options are only
limited by your imagination.
not your average chicken recipes
spicy spaghetti with
sautéed fennel & mussels
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
I’ve had a few students come through my cooking classes
1 small onion, diced
claiming they “hate” the taste of fennel. Every single one says
something different once they’ve tasted this dish. Sautéing the
fennel bulb until it begins to soften and caramelize brings out its
inherent sweetness and mellows its licorice flavor. The mussels then
steam in the aromatic stock, releasing a briny sweetness. Tossed
with cooked semolina spaghetti, the fennel becomes a beautiful note
in a symphony of flavors.
1 clove garlic, minced
tsp. fennel seeds,
2 bulbs fennel
cup dry white wine, such as
Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
cup bottled clam juice
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds mussels, washed well and
1 pound 100% semolina spaghetti
•Wine pairing: Falanghina or Arneis
•To start, serve an heirloom tomato
salad with caper vinaigrette.
•To finish, drizzle strawberries with
reduced balsamic vinegar.
1. Warm the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions
and cook until soft, 10 minutes. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook
for 1 minute.
2. Cut the top and bottom off the fennel and reserve the green tops. Chop
2 Tbs. of the tops and reserve. Cut the fennel bulbs into 1⁄2-inch pieces,
add to the pan, and cook until the fennel begins to soften, 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to high, add the white wine, clam juice, and red pepper
flakes and simmer until the stock has reduced by half. Add the mussels
and cook until they open. Discard any mussels that do not open.
3. In the meantime bring a large pot of salted water to a boil Add the
spaghetti and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to the
package directions. Drain the pasta and toss together with the fennel
mixture. Place in a large, warm serving bowl and serve immediately.
bottled clam juice
I love cooking shellfish, and I always keep 1 or 2 bottles of clam juice on
hand. This clam juice is the perfect substitute for homemade fish stock
or fish fumet, both of which can be labor intensive to make. Thanks to its
sweet shellfish flavor, bottled clam juice can be your go-to stock when fish
or shellfish are involved.
beyond fish sticks
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