FIve Minute Photo Shoot: Deviled Avocado Pasta, Take Two

Remember the Deviled Avocado Pasta I made last year with some extra deviled egg yolks?  Because I sure do.  It looked a little something like this:

deviled avocado pasta

Last year, it was more green.  I do not know why.

This year, I made it twice; one time with soba noodles instead of traditional pasta.  So freakin’ good.

deviled avocado pasta

Ohhh yes.

Recipe is here, if you like.

Roasted Delicata Squash with Avocado Sauce

Good lord, I love the colors this time of year.

There’s a whole lotta green still, but you turn a corner and WHAM, there’s the most brilliant orange lit up in the crisp sunshine.

If you happen to get my personal chef newsletter (ahem shameless plug), you saw that I featured pumpkins this month.  Such a novel idea this time of year; I’m so innovative.

And of course, because I got all into pumpkins, I had to cook some.  Running errands yesterday, I happened to park literally across the sidewalk from a small farmers market, where I saw the most adorable little Delicata squash.  Kismet.

Using the super-simple recipe for Avocado Sauce I recently developed for a client’s dinner party (I can never get enough avocado), the goat cheese still banging around in the fridge, and what I hope isn’t the last of my spicy globe basil, I had a Fall Fantasie on my plate, all orange and green and golden brown.

There happened to be both hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds in the pantry, either of which would have been equally good here.  I chose hazelnuts because I am a creature of free will, and for no other reason.  Yes, I dropped on a few miserly drops of truffle oil.  It didn’t need it, but it did gild the lily.

This dish is so pretty and so flavorful, I can see a long tray of it served at Thanksgiving, but it’s certainly nutritious enough for everyday dining.  Don’t forget to serve it with a little salad and some crusty bread.

Roasted Delicata Squash with Avocado Sauce

Yield: 4 servings, plus extra Avocado Sauce

If you tend to have sensitive skin like I do, you might want to consider donning a pair of rubber or latex gloves while preparing raw winter squash. Delicata might not cause the same reaction, but after cutting a butternut years ago and dealing with "Elmer's glue hands" for a week, I don't take any chances.

Ingredients

    For the Squash:
  • 2 Delicata squash (look for ones that have more orange or yellow color to them)
  • 2 tablespoons softened bacon fat, butter, olive oil, or a combination
  • Salt and black pepper, as needed
  • 5 to 10 bay leaves (optional)
  • For the Avocado Sauce:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small shallot
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • Water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • To finish:
  • Goat cheese (4 to 6 ounces should do it for 4 servings)
  • Toasted and chopped hazelnuts (about 1/4 cup)
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Truffle oil (optional)

Instructions

For the Delicata Squash:

1. Preheat oven to 375º F, and position a rack in the middle.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional, but absolutely prevents any sticking).

3. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds (either roast those separately or discard). Halve the squash with a diagonal cut, and then again, cutting each squash into 8 long triangles. You can, of course, cut it any way you like, as long as the pieces are about the same size.

4. Put the squash on the prepared pan, and rub the pieces with the softened bacon fat (or whatever you're using) until evenly coated. Sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper. Scatter the bay leaves around the squash.

5. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, or until browned on the edges and the flesh is soft (check by piercing with a sharp knife; it should meet no resistance). Let cool slightly.

6. While the squash roasts, prepare the Avocado Sauce, and toast and chop the hazelnuts.

For the Avocado Sauce:

1. Roughly chop the avocado and shallot. Purée with 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a small food processor, scraping the sides as needed.

2. While the processor is still running, drizzle in the melted butter. If the sauce looks very thick, add water by tablespoons as needed to thin.

3. The sauce will taste a little flat and tart at this point. Sample it, and add salt, pepper, and/or additional lemon juice to taste. Add a spoonful of crème fraîche or sour cream if you have it, and the mood strikes you.

4. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. You may need a spatula to force it through. If making a day or so in advance, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. If you want a warm sauce, or if it becomes too thick in the fridge, gently heat it in a small saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave on short bursts.

To finish:

1. Put a few pieces of squash on a plate. Spoon some avocado sauce over the top, and crumble the goat cheese over that. Scatter the hazelnuts and basil leaves (torn into small pieces if large) around the plate, and drizzle with olive oil if you like.

2. If using truffle oil, carefully drop on a very few drops (only a VERY FEW please!). The focus isn't truffle here, so please use it judiciously. I'm talking 4 or 5 drops on the whole plate. It's potent stuff.

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/roasted-delicata-squash-with-avocado-sauce/

Deviled Avocado Pasta

 

On the first Saturday of May each year, I throw a Kentucky Derby party.  It might just be my second favorite holiday, a close second to Christmas, which has significant charms (the tree! eggnog! sparkly lights!).  Derby does have its significant charms as well (hats! Bourbon! ponies!).

Every Derby, I make a ridiculous hat, I have more Bourbon on hand than is humanly possible to consume (one assumes, anyway), I make sure the television is showing the race, and I like to serve deviled eggs.  It just seems fitting.

Once in a great while, though, one makes too many deviled eggs.  Hard to believe, but it does happen.

In such a case, one eats leftover deviled eggs for a day or two until there are no more hard-boiled egg whites left.  (You do keep the prepared yolks and whites separate, and pipe your deviled eggs as needed throughout the party, yes?  Which means that you don’t have to refrigerate precariously toothpicked and plastic-wrapped platters of eggs, and your set-out platters of eggs never get all dried out and nasty-looking, yes?  Good.  We’re all on the same page here.)

So let’s say that you’ve got about half a cup of deviled egg yolk action sitting in your fridge.  And you’re all out of hard-boiled whites.  What now?

Oh, honey child.

You make this, is what now.  It’s so good you won’t even know what to do with yourself.

This was one of those dishes that gave me a moment of terror while making it.  You know the moment: despite your most educated judgement, it’s the moment when you are deeply uncertain whether things are going to turn out completely awesome or completely horrible.

It’s a smashed-up avocado, mixed with spicy egg yolk, and briefly sautéed garlic and sardines (for umami and your sustainable Omega-3s).  Thin the whole deal with pasta water and lemon juice, and toss it with your long, skinny pasta of choice.  To seal the deal, top everything with a brave handful of smoked paprika bread crumbs.  Because deviled egg requires paprika on top.

Can you tell that it was completely awesome?  Do I even have to say it?

This is best served with a bowl of arugula drizzled with olive oil, and a glass of white wine made solely of grapes from Southeast-facing vineyards in the Beneventano appellation.  Or, you know, whatever you’ve got on hand.

Deviled Avocado Pasta

Yield: 4 servings

Deviled Avocado Pasta

It's helpful to have everything ready to go before you start cooking (get yer mise en place!). Once that's done, it's basically: bang bang bang, dinner.

Okay, yes, I acknowledge that not everyone is going to have some leftover deviled egg yolk business sitting around. Or anyone, really. Since you probably don't, and you still want to make this recipe, you could just mix together two raw egg yolks, plus a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise, a spoonful of coarse mustard, and a heavy dose of sriracha (it needs more than you'd think). Smush or whisk in the avocado and sautéed garlic and sardines. When mixed with the hot pasta, it will thicken and cook slightly, carbonara-style.

If raw yolks aren't an option for you, just hard-boil a couple of eggs and eat the whites separately. It's all the work of deviled eggs, and none of the deviled eggs. But there is some incredible pasta instead.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces spaghetti, linguine, angel hair, or other long pasta
  • 1 can sardines packed in olive oil (bones removed if you're squeamish about that), about 4 1/4 oz
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup deviled egg yolks (see headnote)
  • Juice of half a lemon, plus extra as needed
  • 2-3 teaspoons olive oil (from the sardine can, if you like)
  • 1 heavy pinch smoked paprika
  • 1 heavy pinch dried thyme
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large handful panko (or other coarse breadcrumbs)

Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta until just al dente, according to package directions. When done, drain, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the sardines with some of the oil they were packed in, and the garlic. Cook briefly, breaking up the sardine fillets a bit, until garlic is fragrant and not too brown. Remove from heat.

3. While sardines and garlic cook, halve, pit, and scoop out the avocado into a large bowl. Smash together with the deviled egg yolks. Add the cooked sardines and garlic, and stir in the juice of half a lemon. Taste, and season to your liking with salt and pepper. The sauce will be very thick; whisk in some of the reserved pasta water as needed to thin (you will not need all of it).

4. In the same pan the sardines were cooked in, heat 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the smoked paprika, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant, to bloom the spices. Toss in the breadcrumbs, and stir to coat with the oil. Cook until crunchy and well-browned, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Toss the warm cooked pasta with the avocado-egg sauce, drizzling in additional reserved pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. Serve immediately, topped with a liberal handful of the spiced breadcrumbs.

Notes

Did you catch that deviled egg recipe in the headnotes, more or less? Here it is, and it rocks: smash up your hard-boiled egg yolks with some mayonnaise (use a light hand at first, you can always add more later). Add half as much coarse, spicy mustard. Add about the same amount of sriracha (it will look like you're adding way too much, but you really aren't). Mix together, and add salt and black pepper to taste. If it's too thick to pipe, add more mayonnaise (or sriracha) by the spoonful until it's just right. If it's too spicy for you, get over it. They're called "deviled" for a reason.

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/deviled-avocado-pasta/

Five Minute Photo Shoot: Jicama Avocado Salad

I haven’t done one of these in ages.  Embarrassingly, it’s mostly due to the fact that I haven’t been making myself proper lunches.  Time for a change!

This is a bed of red leaf lettuce, topped with a bit of chopped jicama and avocado, shaved red onion, and a red miso-mustard dressing with plenty of black pepper.  Whole wheat flatbread rounds out the quick lunch for two.

Creamy, crunchy, tangy, and surprisingly filling.  Just what I wanted.