Mango Sago Soup w/ Pomelo & Dragon Fruit

This is a popular dessert in Hong-Kong that consists of a chilled mango-coconut soup filled with tapioca pearls and topped with shards of pomelo and chunks of fresh sweet mango. I added my own little twist by flavoring the mango-coconut soup with Kaffir lime leaves (mango plays well with lime) and added cubes of sweet dragon fruit. I could drink a gallon of this stuff. Really. On a hot day there’s nothing as satisfying as this dessert and there’s absolutely no need to feel guilty because it’s fruit on top of more fruit, only more luxurious. If I was living under the tropics all I would need to survive would be this mango-tapioca soup and.. err.. a hammock.

Now the second good news of the day is that it couldn’t be easier to make. And you should make it soon since all the fruits are in season right now. Just keep the components separate and combine them at the last minute since tapioca has the tendency to “melt” and disappear into the soup if it stands in in too long. Well, that is a big “if”. If I know you well, my dear readers, you’ll be funneling it down like I do.

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Fresh Pea Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraiche & Quail Eggs

I blogged about pea pancakes in the past but this is a different recipe that I like even better. These little green giants are really delicious. You can top them with smoked salmon and sunny side-up eggs and you’ll have a fine brunch dish, a miniature version with quail egg makes an impressive amuse-bouche, or simply leave them naked for a healthy snack. And when I said that for a few weeks in the spring all my food turns green, you thought that I was kidding, eh?

The other reason I’m blogging about this is because I bought a pack of 12 quail eggs that I’m desperately and shamelessly trying to unload. I hate to waste food! You saw them on the spring pizza, they show up again today… and you might meet again! If I get desperate enough I might make the smallest omelette in the world and be done with them. Who wants to eat the smallest omelette, ever?

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Spinach Lasagna Bolognese

In Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, lasagna is comfort food, made with layers upon layers of pasta, Ragù alla Bolognese and béchamel sauce, and an abundant dusting of grated cheese before it goes into the oven. So whenever there’s a desperate need for comfort food that calls for a drastic remedy, well, there you have it. I posted a four-cheese lasagna recipe recently that I really enjoy. Today the spotlight is for his carnivore second-cousin since we don’t play favorites on this blog. And I used spinach pasta because everything turns green in the spring, even my food. Does it counts as a green vegetable? Hmm. I let you decide.

And like all of us, dear readers, Lasagna alla Bolognese improves with age, so, if you can, make it a day ahead and refrigerate it, the flavors will meld beautifully, and then you need only to reheat it gently in the oven before serving it. Enjoy!

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Warm White Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche

White asparagus is simply good old green asparagus that has been covered with soil to keep sunlight (and green chlorophyll-producing photosynthesis) away from the ripening spears. It’s in the ground they develop their unique delicate flavor. The spears are then harvested before their tips break through the surface. The farmers must keep a close watch on the white asparagus crop, which is typically harvested by hand at dawn. If the tip of a shoot grows beyond the mound and is exposed to the sun, it will turn a light purple color.

I’ve never had good local white asparagus, which are usually thin and quite stringy, but I was lucky to find the Argenteuil white asparagus, a renowned French heirloom which are much thicker, tender and delicious. Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherland also produce excellent varieties and can be found in good markets in the US from mid-april to may.

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Spring Pizza

If this pizza looks familiar it’s because it was made from leftovers from my last post. My point? You can put anything on a pizza. Let me repeat that. You can put anything on a pizza. How dare he put anything on a pizza!? The pizza police might issue a warrant for my arrest but in my defense I can say that over the years I’ve made plenty of leftover pizzas and never had one that wasn’t delicious. Okay, maybe that one time a long time ago with the chorizo, pineapple and sardines but I blame on.. Tequila. Trust me on this, with leftover pizzas the odds are on your side.

Let me deconstruct it for you. A layer of Robiola bechamel tops the pizza dough (which was leftover from a spinach lasagna that I haven’t posted yet) and on top goes asparagus tips, fresh peas, fava beans and a pesto puree. I had three quail eggs who faced an uncertain future in my refrigerator so I found them a new purpose as pizza topping. They seem to be okay with it. I finished the spring pizza with a few thin slices of Coppa, an Italian cured meat from the top of the pork shoulder with bold taste and perfect fat-to-meat ratio. How can this possibly not be delicious?

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