When your last name is Cherry and you’ve written a book on garlic and you see a 19th-century French copper mold decorated with cherries and garlic, you pretty much have to buy it. You’ll be pleased to learn that I’m not going to give you a recipe for cherry-garlic pie but rather a simple dish for asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and garlic. It’s adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse. For more flavor (and calories), sprinkle some feta cheese on top.
Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic
2 lb. pencil asparagus
2 c. cherry tomatoes, washed and stemmed
12 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. coarse or flake salt (I like Maldon)
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place asparagus, tomatoes, and garlic in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Transfer to oven and roast until asparagus are tender and tomatoes begin to caramelize, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. Sprinkle with feta just before serving, if using.
In the 1600’s, the Prussian government banned the import of robust Italian garlic in hopes of saving its own garlic industry which, alas, produced weaker, smaller garlic. To preserve their livelihood (and mindful of the fact that Prussian royals preferred Italian garlic) some clever pasta makers in Sicily invented Paccheri pasta, wide-hollow tubes, each of which could be used to smuggle four or five garlic cloves across the Alpine border. They were so successfully that ultimately, the Prussian garlic trade folded.
64 years ago, Prussia itself suffered the same fate. It was dissolved by the Allied Control Council on this day in 1947. I modified this recipe for Paccheri with Shrimp from one by Mary Ann Esposito whose Ciao Italia is America’s longest running television cooking show. (Take that Rachel Ray!)
Paccheri with Garlic Shrimp and Tomatoes
1/4 c. olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
2 t. red pepper flakes
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. dry white wine
2 lbs. shrimp
chopped parsley, to garnish
1/2 lb. paccheri pasta
Heat olive oil and saute garlic until soft. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Cook one or two minutes then add the wine and bring to a boil; lower the heat and add the shrimp. Cover with a lid and cook about 8 minutes.
While the shrimp cook, cook the paccheri in low boiling salted water (see note) until al dente. Drain and add them to the sauté pan with the shrimp with some of the pasta water. Cook a few minutes until everything is well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Italians don’t believe in serving cheese with seafood, but I’m not Italian.
Note: Unlike most pasta, paccheri should be boiled on a low boil so it doesn’t split.
Okay, is there a better reason than Australia Day for a gratuitous picture of Curtis Stone? In all fairness, his recipe for Grilled Prawns (or as we say, shrimp) with garlic and snap peas is a welcome harbinger of spring. And I have it on good authority that if you call this “shrimp on the barbie,” a dingo will eat your baby.
Grilled Garlic Prawns with Stir-Fried Sugar-Snap Peas
500 g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
1 T. olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 T. olive oil
500 g sugar snap peas, stringed
1 T. fresh ginger, peeled, chopped fine
3 T. rice wine
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1 shallot, chopped fine
1 t. sesame oil
2 T. olive oil
Pre-heat a grill to medium high heat. In a large mixing bowl combine the prawns/shrimp, 1 T. olive oil, lemon zest and one clove of garlic. Season prawns with pepper and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until lightly charred and just cooked through.
Meanwhile place a wok over high heat until hot. Add 1 T. olive oil and heat until very hot. Add the sugar snap peas, remaining garlic and ginger and toss lightly for 30 seconds. Add the rice wine and salt, and stir fry for 2 minutes or until the sugar snap peas are bright green and crisp-tender. Mound the sugar snap peas on the centre of 4 serving plates.
To make the vinaigrette: In a large mixing bowl whisk the vinegar, soy sauce and shallot. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oils. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the prawns on top of the sugar snap peas and drizzle the vinaigrette over and around the prawns and serve immediately.