This pork roast is quintessential Pacific Northwest, comprising three seasonal ingredients: farro, chestnuts, and Brussels sprouts.
Washington, it turns out, is a huge producer of the nation’s farro, an ancient relative of the wheat berry. Meanwhile, chestnuts continue to gain popularity, as they too are suited to our weather. And Brussels sprouts? Another delicious green product of our abundant, year-round Brassica farming.
Traditionally a bisque is a thick and creamy soup with a base of mirepoix and shellfish served with the diced meat of the latter. Right now, our beloved New England lobsters are on sale at one of the markets I shop at: an astounding $7.99/lb.!
With the temperature dropping, becoming as cold as the sea nearby, and the climate drying up before the rains begin to pelt us, nothing sounds better than to cozy up in my warm apartment with a bowl of steaming lobster bisque.
I cannot emphasize how incredible this soup is. It is the perfect balance of flavors–a touch of sweetness, a well-mannered but full-bodied saltiness with a succulent savory finish–the prize being the true essence of lobster that lingers in the mouth well after the last bite.
Sometimes beets come in a bunch at the market, a 2-in-1 kind of deal. My drive to use the entire part of the plant or animal, where appropriate, one day brought a beet green to my mouth. Very similar to chard, the beet green has a pleasant, earthy and slightly bitter flavor raw. It is good enough to chop up into a salad. So I shaved the raw beet into a salad of its own greens and served it to my family. They had never eaten beet greens. All they could say was that the lettuce was so flavorful.
And while the beet greens are flavorful raw, when braised momentarily with a bit of wine, onion and garlic, and tossed with roasted almonds and fennel, they really come alive. Plus their brilliant green, coated in a glossy finish, is such a pleasing experience to the eyes. As you gardeners get ready to pull your beets, or as you beet buyers begin to see the bunches, consider doing your senses a favor with this one.
One afternoon, I made a friend some macaroni & cheese. The oozing, bubbly mug of the browned stuff turned out to be a saving grace for her that day. It was one of the worst in recent memory. Some weeks passed as her smile returned. Then, just yesterday, she surprised me with a few duck eggs. They came from some of her friends who keep the ducks, and she wanted to share the same pleasure she received with me. So, this morning, for breakfast, I put together this rich, creamy dish, which I dedicate to friendship.
This should be called Eggs Seattleite because, 1, we love Eggs Benedict up here, 2, we love bacon up here, 3, we love crusty bread up here, 4, we love wine up here, and, 5, the porcinis love to grow up here.
Salmonberries are as varied in color as they are in taste. Sometimes they are sweet, sometimes they are sour, sometimes they are insipid and sometimes they are an indescribable mix of flavors. Because this is my first harvest of the season, I thought it best to keep them the centerpiece. They are the first spring berry to ripen in the Pacific Northwest, and their presence is a reminder of the long, warm days to come.
Keep this plate small. Salmonberries aren’t known for their abundance. You might be able to put this plate together from only one bush, if you’re lucky, and if the bush is large. The simple syrup recipe makes way more than you need, but you can store it in your fridge for a long, long time.