Morel Mushroom & Asparagus Eggs Benedict

Served over toasted bread, this eggs Benedict is truly stunning.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
6 ounces morel mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size
¼ cup white wine, or broth
½ cup heavy cream
4 slices rustic bread, lightly toasted
12 spears asparagus, blanched
4 eggs
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the butter and allow it to melt, then toss in the mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture, about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add the wine or broth, deglaze the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until it thickens, about 2-3 minutes and reduce the heat to low.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Swirl the water in the pot. Crack an egg into a bowl and gently pour the egg from the bowl into the water. Repeat with another egg. Let the eggs cook until the whites are set but the yolks are not, about 2-3 minutes then fish them out. Repeat with remaining two eggs.

4. To serve, place the toast on plates, top with the asparagus, poached eggs and creamy mushroom sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Creamed Green Cabbage

This delectable cabbage is coated in a creamy béchamel sauce for extra flavor.

Ingredients:
1 small head green cabbage, cored and shredded (about 10 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Grana-style cheese
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring 1-inch-deep salted water to a boil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add the cabbage. Cover, and steam, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, and let cool slightly. Squeeze out excess water using a kitchen towel.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, and cook until bubbling but not browning, 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add ¼ cup cheese and the lemon zest. Immediately fold cabbage into sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon mixture into a shallow (6-cup) casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of cheese. Bake until bubbling, 30-35 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Chilled Tomato & Peach Soup

This creamy, cold soup is bursting with spicy appeal.

Ingredients:
4 heirloom tomatoes, quartered
2 donut peaches, pitted and quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
¾ cup heavy cream
4 teaspoons sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper, or, to taste
Sea salt

Method:
1. In a large stockpot, sweat garlic and shallots with olive oil over medium-low heat until fragrant and translucent. Add in peaches, tomatoes, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until tomatoes and peaches break down, about 15 minutes, using the back of a wooden spoon to help mash them up.

2. Remove from heat and remove thyme. Working in batches, purée soup in batches until smooth. Transfer soup back to pot by straining through a fine mesh strainer.

3. Bring heat back to medium-low and add cream, sugar and cayenne pepper. Check for seasoning and adjust cream, sugar or cayenne levels as desired. Simmer on low for about 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Then, remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to the fridge. Serve cold, with chopped fresh herbs over top.

Grilled Corn Salad with Sweet Peppers

This warm salad is crisp and crunchy, boasting a wonderful smoky flavor from the perfectly-charred corn and peppers.

Ingredients:
4 ears sweet corn, shucked
2 sweet peppers, halved and seeded
2 ½-inch-thick onion slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon finely-chopped chives
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place corn on the grill rack; grill 20 minutes or until charred here-and-there, turning occasionally. Place in a large bowl; cover with foil. Leave in a warm location 10 minutes, then cut corn kernels off cobs, encouraging clusters to stay intact, if possible.

2. Meanwhile, place the peppers and onions on grill rack, and grill 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and coarsely chop both the peppers and onions.

3. Combine the chives, cream, oregano, vinegar and garlic with a healthy pinch each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add peppers, onions and corn; toss gently to coat. Serve warm.

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