Creamy Asparagus Soup with Two Garnishes

food-blog-march-2017-0391As it turns out, when you start to conceive a soup for March, there are a number of things to think about. Which half – the “in like a lion” or the “out like a lamb” part – do you capture? Do you take into account Punxsutawney Phil’s ominous scrabblings, or do you celebrate the early vestiges of the spring you feel coming? Do you blitz together creamy, lingering winter flavors, or do you fly light and bright and vegetal, in hopes of what might be just over the horizon?

food-blog-march-2017-0390If you’re me, you mull, you consider, you scribble, and then you try to do all of the above. For some people (read: east coast food snobs foodies), the emergence of ramps is the harbinger of spring. For me, it’s asparagus. I like the image of the little fern-like tops pushing their way up out of the cold ground, extending into bold, fat, turgid stalks. It’s not the likeliest vegetable to put into a soup, but it’s such a welcome green flavor that I wanted to celebrate it. The grassy character of asparagus got me thinking about cream of celery soup, one of those condensed classics that I’ve never actually eaten from a bowl, but have seen on any number of casserole recipes right up there with its gloopy mushroom cousin.

food-blog-march-2017-0376Cream of asparagus soup sounded comforting and easy, but what really got me excited was the prospect of garnishing it. A few Christmases ago, one of our appetizer options was wrapped asparagus: one set lovingly encased in wafer-thin strips of prosciutto; the other bundled into swaths of smoked salmon. And combining my childhood recollection of crackers crushed into soup for texture and the number of smoked salmon Caesar salads with homemade croutons we’ve had lately, my soup toppings seemed set. The prosciutto would be crisped in the oven and float tantalizingly on the creamy surface, and the salmon would be piled right in the middle for a treasure chest you could drag your spoon through on its way to a rubble of crouton.

food-blog-march-2017-0369Of course you wouldn’t eat the soup with both garnishes – prosciutto and smoked salmon (although, for the purposes of photographing each we did, in fact, have both), but two toppings seemed like a nice option to give you. I’ll be honest: we liked the salmon best, and definitely dug the croutons, but the prosciutto does go well with the soup’s flavor profile.

food-blog-march-2017-0365This was delicious – creamy and comforting – but the real excitement came when we sat down to eat it. I turned the heat on our gas stove down to low in case we wanted seconds, finished my photo session, toppings arranged just so, and brought two steaming bowls over to the couch where we were set to embark on a thrilling Friday night: soup and a British murder mystery, and no sooner had the ominous intro music begun to play than the power went out. We sat, we waited a few moments, we relocated to the table and lit a few candles, and then we ate soup in the semi-darkness, with the wind outside ripping down branches and the rain sheeting over the roof (we’re still in Los Angeles, right?), and were pleased to be indoors, with gas heat, and warm soup, and the whole weekend still to come.

food-blog-march-2017-0380A few notes: if you want the excitement of finding asparagus tips threaded through the smoothness of your soup, you can, as we did, leave them aside until after you puree. If you don’t want the disruption, add them along with the stalks and blend away.

However you choose to puree the soup – handheld or regular blender – be sure to be thorough. Unexpected snippets of leek or onion mar our velvet intentions and need to be blitzed into oblivion.

Be sure to cook the croutons until they are quite crisp. I like a salad crouton with a tiny bit of chewy give in the center, but here, the soup soaks in and the cubes need to be fully dry to avoid turning to instant mush.

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Creamy Asparagus Soup with Two Garnishes
Adapted from Jamie at Home
Serves 4
About 45 minutes
For the soup:
4 tablespoons butter
1½ cups diced white onion (1 medium or ½ large)
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, halved, cleaned, and thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, cleaned, thinly sliced
1½-2 pounds asparagus, woody ends snapped off, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 quart water (4 cups) (you could use broth here, but I wanted to keep the flavors veg-central)
salt and pepper to taste
¼-½ cup heavy cream
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons chives, very thinly sliced
For the prosciutto garnish:
4 slices prosciutto
For the salmon and crouton garnish:
3 cups ½-inch sourdough bread cubes, cut from about ⅓ of a large loaf or batard
4 cloves garlic, minced, or ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
zest from one lemon
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces smoked salmon

 

  • In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, and celery pieces and turn the heat down to medium low. Sweat the vegetables for about 10 minutes – we are looking for tenderness, not for color. If they begin to brown, turn down the heat.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, begin work on your garnishes – see instructions below.
  • When the vegetables are tender and the onion pieces have become translucent, add the water and the asparagus stalks, reserving the tips if desired. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to keep the liquid at a bare simmer for about 20 minutes, until the asparagus pieces are tender.
  • Blend extremely well using a handheld or a standard blender – you are looking for a completely smooth mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • If you have reserved the asparagus tips, add them now and simmer just until they are tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Pull the pot off of the heat, add the cream and stir, then return to low heat, add lemon juice and chives, and warm through.
  • To make the prosciutto garnish, while the onion, leek, and celery are cooking, preheat the oven to 300F and spread out 4 pieces of prosciutto on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake at 300F for 20-25 minutes, until they are crisp enough to shatter.
  • Set aside until soup is ready and serve balanced on the edge of the bowl, crumbled over the soup, or with one end immersed for drama, as above. Eat immediately; it will not remain crisp for long once it hits the hot liquid.
  • To make the crouton and salmon garnish, while the onion, leek, and celery are cooking, preheat the oven to 300F. In a large bowl, whisk together the minced garlic or garlic powder, the lemon zest, the salt, and the pepper. Add the sourdough cubes and toss well to combine.
  • Spread the seasoned bread cubes out on a baking tray and toast in the 300F oven for 20-25 minutes, until they are thoroughly dried inside.
  • While the cubes toast and the soup simmers, unwrap the smoked salmon and use two forks, back to back, pulling away from each other, to shred it up.
  • To serve, after ladling in a serving of soup, place a small mound of the smoked salmon in the center of the bowl, then place a handful of croutons over the top. As you can see, for aesthetic purposes I piled mine to the side, but you can put them right in the middle if you wish. Eat immediately.
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Sweet Potato and Brussels Warm Salad

Food Blog November 2014-0792The first time I made this dish, which could be called a roasted side dish or a warm salad, depending on how you’re feeling, I didn’t actually make it. Let me explain. Like everyone (she says, because it makes her feel better), I have a few unfortunate… let’s call them character flaws. I’m clumsy. I drop things. I spill. I trip. Last week right in the middle of a lecture about pronouns and antecedents I bumped into the chalkboard and, in my recovery, stumbled into a wheeled desk chair that promptly rolled several feet across the classroom. My students were gracious enough to laugh at me.

Food Blog November 2014-0782Where my clumsiness can be amusing or endearing or even charming in other areas of life (I disagree, but N. seems to find it so), it occasionally winds up being dangerous in the kitchen. I take precautions: my knives are sharp, I stabilize my cutting boards, and I try not to do too many things at once. But once in a while, a knife slips, my mind wanders, and I wind up bleeding.

Food Blog November 2014-0783Food Blog November 2014-0788This unappetizing truth is what almost did this salad in. The first time I made it, this autumnal tumble of sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, prosciutto, and walnuts, I had baked the prosciutto into saliva-inducing crisps, toasted the walnuts, and cooked off the sweet potatoes. All that remained, aside from a tart dressing I knew would involve whole grain mustard and cider vinegar, was to slice up a mess of brussels sprouts. To save on dishes, because N. hates washing the food processor, I was doing this delicate slicing by hand and, well, my hand slipped. In a matter of seconds, I was outside, sitting on the porch step with my hand in the air and my head between my knees thinking it was too early for the sky to be so dark, and N. was running for a bandage and asking questions about something called an emergency room.

Food Blog November 2014-0789When my head cleared a little, I decided the cut wasn’t bad enough to merit a hospital run, but it was bad enough that I wouldn’t be able to finish dinner. You’re up, N! We tagged out and N., usually a bit shy in the kitchen, did an admirable job slicing the rest of the sprouts, whisking up a sharp, perfectly acidic dressing, and tossing everything together. We ate, I recovered, and I suddenly had a fantastic war story to exchange with my sister when she suffered her own bit of kitchen clumsiness a few weeks later.

Food Blog November 2014-0794The dish stayed in the back of my mind. It was good when we ate it – nice for the day we’d had which, though warm, carried hints of cooler evenings to come – but I kept wanting more. The flavors should be deeper. The rawness of the brussels sprouts was okay, but with toasty edges they would be even better. My fix, as it usually is for things involving vegetables, was to roast everything. This created, I’ll admit, a bowl of cubes and shards that would never pass muster on a Pinterest board worth its salt. However,  it makes up for its homeliness by combining all the fall flavors and textures I was yearning for. It is sweet and earthy and vegetal, with the right amount of saltiness from the prosciutto. The walnuts have a slight, slight bitterness, which contrasts nicely against the sweet potato. And the dressing, tangy and light and packed with tiny mustard seeds that pop between your teeth, soaks down into the vegetables and lifts the whole thing back up into perfect, warm, satisfying fall salad territory.
Food Blog November 2014-0799

Roasted Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprouts “salad”
serves 2 as a main, 3-4 as a side
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
16 ounces brussels sprouts, stem ends and any wilted or yellowing leaves removed, halved or quartered. You want the sweet potatoes and the Brussels sprouts roughly equal in size.
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
5-6 slices prosciutto
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired

 

  • Preheat the oven to 450F and line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Pour 1 tablespoon of the olive oil directly onto the foil-lined tray and place the tray in the oven while it is preheating. While you wait for it to warm up, prep the vegetables.
  • Toss the sweet potato chunks and Brussels sprout pieces in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the salt, and the pepper. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the vegetables to a single layer on the foil-lined tray that has been heating up inside. The additional of the oil already on the tray means the exteriors of the vegetables will start cooking immediately.
  • As soon as you place the tray of vegetables into the oven, turn the heat down to 425F. Roast the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes, then toss them to promote even browning and roast for an additional 20 minutes.
  • On another foil-lined baking sheet, spread out the prosciutto so the slices do not overlap. During the second 20 minute roasting of the vegetables, add the prosciutto tray to the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, until the slices are almost crisp and lightly bronzed.
  • Remove prosciutto slices to a paper towel to drain and cool, and add the chopped walnuts directly to the tray that previously held the prosciutto. Roast the walnuts for 5-6 minutes, until fragrant and slightly darker in color (keep an eye on them, though; they burn fast).
  • While the ingredients are roasting, make the dressing. In a large bowl (it can be the serving bowl, to save on dishes, if you like), whisk together the mustard, the honey, and the cider vinegar. While whisking, slowly pour in the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired, but remember that the vegetables are already seasoned and the prosciutto is quite salty.
  • When the vegetables are roasted to your liking (I like them golden with slightly crusty edges, and yielding on the inside), remove from the oven and place them directly in the bowl with the dressing. Toss to combine. Crumble or chop up the prosciutto into bite-sized pieces, and add it and the walnuts to the bowl as well. Toss again to integrate, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Fig, gorgonzola, and prosciutto crostini

Let’s talk about hazing for just a minute. I don’t mean the kind that covers the skies down here in Southern California – that filmy grayness that hangs a little thicker the closer to get to the skyscrapered center of Los Angeles. I don’t mean the kind that fills your brain when you remember there’s still a week of school left, and who knows how much grading after that. I mean the kind that happens when you’re the new guy. Being the new guy at my job means, through none of your own doing, that you are the party planner. At the department meeting in November, with no previous knowledge of customs or expectations, you suddenly get told that you (with any other new hires for the year) are in charge of planning the holiday party.
April May June 2014-3780You do it. It turns out fine. And in my case, you end up with some funds left over. And suddenly the hazing becomes self-inflicted. You find yourself sitting in your boss’s office suggesting we organize something for the end of the spring semester as well because, well, why not? We work hard. We might want a party to celebrate the close of the school year. So when May rolls around, you remember that suggestion, and those leftover funds, and suddenly you’re planning a happy hour for the colleagues you can’t believe you’ve grown so fond of in just a year, and feeling, under the weight of the grocery bags, again quite lucky to have landed this position.
April May June 2014-3770When I plan a party, I have a tendency to go overboard. Potlucks N. and I hosted during graduate school became theme parties. We were late to our graduation party because I wanted to make sure the pulled pork I’d made to share was perfect. Though I was determined to keep this work function a casual, easy-to-throw-together affair, I still found myself sketching out a shopping list two weeks in advance, when we weren’t even sure where the party would take place yet.
April May June 2014-3771And then I was suddenly not just adding ready-to-serve items to the list, but ingredients. I was menu planning.
April May June 2014-3773It seems to me that a gathering of the sort I executed this past weekend – a casual happy hour in a gorgeous community clubhouse in San Pedro – is perfectly lovely with entirely purchased snacks. A selection of red and white wines, good cheeses, some crackers and a vegetable platter, and perhaps some nice briny olives and hard salami, more than does the job. But adding one or two homemade items really makes things special. For me, these included some spring rolls and peanut sauce (I may share the recipe at some point, if I can get my act together), some freshly baked sourdough bread spiked with rosemary, and a crostini combination I am crazy for that was gone within the space of an hour.
April May June 2014-3775This crostini blends salty and sweet in a tremendously successful way. It’s pretty, it smells fantastic, it looks impressive, and it is so easy there’s barely a recipe at all. That’s what we all need, I think, for the end of the semester.
April May June 2014-3778Ready?
You slice a baguette, drizzle the slices with olive oil and pepper, and toast them. No salt, since we’ll be adding cured meat and cheese in a moment. You spread them with fig jam, nestle a half slice of prosciutto atop each, and then add a sprinkling of gorgonzola cheese. Then you shove the whole tray under the broiler for a few minutes until the edges of the prosciutto are crinkling and toasting with heat, and then you scoop your little toasts onto a platter and send them out to watch them disappear. Done. If you want, you can add a little wisp of baby arugula to the top for greenness and another peppery punch. As you can see, I did a tray without prosciutto, to allow vegetarian snackers to partake as well.

April May June 2014-3781*Note: these quantities are approximate. Depending on how well oiled you like your bread, how peppery you want your toasts to be, and how thick a layer of jam and cheese you want to offer, you may need slightly more or slightly less than I’ve suggested here.

Fig, gorgonzola, and prosciutto crostini
Makes 24-30 toasts, depending on how thick you slice your baguette
1 french baguette
¼ cup (approximate) olive oil (or olive oil spray)
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup fig jam
10-12 slices prosciutto, halved into fat rectangles (as opposed to long, skinny ones)
¾ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 bunch baby arugula, optional
  • First, preheat your broiler.
  • Slice your baguette on a bias into ½ – ¾ inch discs. Arrange on two baking trays in a single layer. Brush (or spray) with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the top of each slice is golden. Flip over each slice and broil another 1-2 minutes until these, too, are golden. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • When the toasts have cooled enough to handle without toasting your fingertips, spread each one with a thin layer of fig jam, being sure to get all the way to the edges.
  • Top the jam with a slice of prosciutto, fluting it a bit as you set it on the bread so that it sits up like a rumpled napkin, rather than lying flat. This will ensure a bit of crisping, and it looks awfully pretty.
  • Sprinkle some gorgonzola crumbles atop the prosciutto, trying to keep them on the toasts as much as possible, rather than on the baking tray around the toasts.
  • Place your loaded sheet trays back into the broiler and let them go for just a minute or two, until the edges of the prosciutto are sizzling and crisp, and the gorgonzola starts to wilt and bubble slightly.
  • Remove from the oven, settle on a serving platter, and top each with a curl of baby arugula, if desired.

Loaded Baked Potato Biscuits

Food Blog May 2013-1406

I’m not going to say that my mom was a hippie or a health nut.  She didn’t stock her pantry with wheat germ or homemade granola, and she didn’t feed us sprouted grains or tempeh (in fact, she probably didn’t know what tempeh was).  But she did make a definite effort to keep food choices healthy when my sister and I were kids.  Her rule for me when picking out breakfast cereal was that sugar had to be third or lower on the list of ingredients tapped out in tiny letters on the side of the box.  I think the first time I tasted Lucky Charms was when I was in high school, where I was quietly surprised that anyone could think of eating this candy for breakfast rather than dessert.  The first time I saw someone put sugar into a bowl of Corn Flakes, I was stunned.  The only kind of cereal I’d ever put sweetener onto, besides oatmeal, was Shredded Wheat.

Food Blog May 2013-1403

Despite the commercials I drooled over for Sunny Delight (back when it wasn’t just a D) and Capri Sun, nothing but 100% juice (and the occasional lemonade concentrate) entered our fridge for a very long time.  Brand name Fruit Roll-ups didn’t fly, but the occasional real pressed fruit leather was okay.  My sister, seven years my junior, somehow managed to get Mom to buy Squeeze-its, but not until they had a “real juice” component.  She also ended up with Lunchables to take to school (I didn’t find out about this until a visit home from college.  I was shocked and felt a weird kind of betrayed jealousy – I didn’t want to eat Lunchables now; they looked disgusting!  But I wanted to have been allowed to have them when I might have thought they tasted good.  Is there even a word for that feeling?).

Given all this, as you might imagine, white bread was not something that appeared in our (paper, please) grocery bags.  But my sister and I were not sold on the breads my parents wanted us to eat.  Whole wheat was pushing it a little, especially if it had cracked wheat spattered across the top crust.  Oatnut and any kind of seven or nine or even five grain compilations were out.  And then Mom found Country Potato bread.  Do you remember it?  It’s golden and mild, slightly sweet but still savory enough to taste good with ham and cheese.  The top was often lightly dusted with some residual flour, which was somehow not offensive in the way the cracked wheat pieces were on the bread we refused.  We ate potato bread for years.  It was soft enough that, once you ate the crust off, you could roll the rest of it up into a mushy little ball, or tear the slice in pieces and make a whole pile of little dough-balls, and then eat those.  They squished against our teeth.

In the years since sourdough replaced potato as my bread flavor of choice, I’ve thought again about that bread my sister and I ate.  How did they (whoever “they” were) get potato into bread?  In what form?  Was it mashed?  Was it baked?  Was it a flurry of potato flakes?  Was it potato flour?  At the farmers’ market in Eugene, OR my husband and I discovered potato donuts: dark brown, dense, sugar-crusted rings that were mercifully only available once a week, and I wondered about these too.  Two beloved starches, baked together, could only be greater than the sum of their parts.

This is all an extremely long way to introduce the idea of putting potatoes in a biscuit.  If they can produce bread and donuts, and of course pasta – gnocchi is not, when it comes right down to it, really so tremendously different from a row of fluffy little miniature biscuits that you boil instead of baking – why not a tall, leavened biscuit?

Food Blog May 2013-1393A little internet research showed me numerous methods of incorporating potato flavor into my biscuits.  I decided early on that I wanted to use a fresh potato, rather than the instant potato flakes some recipes recommend, which meant I had to be careful about moisture.  The potato needed to be cooked and mashed or pureed before adding it to the flour, so that it mixed in easily.  However, boiling potato chunks to mash them does add water, and I wanted to keep my potatoes dry so that the moisture could come from something with additional flavor – I was thinking buttermilk.  Here, gnocchi was the answer.  To avoid adding too much water, here or in those pillowy little nuggets, the potato is baked and then grated into crumbly, starchy strands, which are then easily smashed into smoothness.

Food Blog May 2013-1394I’m rarely contented with a plain old buttermilk biscuit, so I decided some add-ins were in order.  Since I was already playing with the potato idea, I started thinking about loaded baked potatoes: cheese, broccoli, bacon bits, sour cream, green onions… I had a roommate once who liked to top hers with salsa and cubes of fried tofu.  In the end, though, I decided to keep the excess to a (relative) minimum: crisp shards of prosciutto, sharp cheddar, and a pile of roughly chopped roasted broccoli florets.

Food Blog May 2013-1397

This produced a dough that clung together reluctantly, given how jammed with additions it was.  But I was patient, after I’d finished throwing flour everywhere, and gentle, and managed to punch out 12 biscuit rounds jammed with bits of green and pink poking out every which way.

Food Blog May 2013-1399

This is a dense biscuit, so it doesn’t rise a tremendous amount when it is baked, but it will still puff a bit as the chunks of butter struggle to support the spudsy weight.  It emerges speckled with bits of broccoli and browned cheese, and it’s totally worth it in every way.  Guys, you have to try these.  It’s rare that I run out of food words to describe something, but this is one of those times.  If I jammed all the superlatives I was thinking of using into this post, you probably wouldn’t believe me.  I’ll keep it at this: the cheese and the broccoli and the prosciutto all lend a crazy-good saltiness (the prosciutto could easily be taken out to make this vegetarian).  The flavors are perfect together, and though the potato doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own, it does make this biscuit fairly substantial.  Paired with a salad (as we had), or a nice bowl of soup, it’s basically a complete meal.

Food Blog May 2013-1400

As with all biscuits I’ve ever tasted, these are best on the first day, as hot out of the oven as you can stand to touch them.  They are perfect on their own, though if you wanted to split one open and add a pat of butter, I’d completely understand.  They are, after all, related to baked potatoes.  And if you wanted to top them with a roasted garlic or a white pepper gravy, well, I don’t think I’d be in any position to stop you.

Loaded Baked Potato Biscuits
(for flour and potato quantities, I started with Deb’s sweet potato biscuits, and improvised from there.  This seems like a lot of steps, but trust me…)

 

For the potato:
  • Bake a medium to large russet or other fluffy, starchy potato at 400F for about an hour, or until a fork sinks easily through the middle.  When it is cooked through, let it cool completely.  Splitting it in half will hasten this process.
  • Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate the potato flesh away from the skin.  In a large bowl, smash or crush the crumbly bits of potato into a smooth mash.
For the broccoli and prosciutto:
1-2 medium heads broccoli, cut into small florets
6 slices prosciutto

 

  • Preheat the oven to 425F.  On a baking sheet, toss the broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for 30-45 minutes, flipping the broccoli pieces over halfway through the cooking process.  When done, they should be well browned on the outside and tender in the middle.  The flowery bits will be crisp, like broccoli popcorn.
  • Remove the broccoli to a plate or cutting board to cool.  When cool enough to handle, chop into ½ inch pieces.
  • Place prosciutto strips onto the now-empty baking tray (yes, there will be some broccoli bits and residual oil there.  Don’t worry about it – they are all going into the biscuits together!).  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until prosciutto is crisp.  Watch it carefully: it burns easily.
  • When crisp and dry, set aside on paper towels or a wire rack to cool and drain a bit.  Once cool, cut or crumble into bits.
For the biscuits:
2 cups flour
2 TB baking powder
½ tsp salt (this doesn’t seem like much, but remember, the broccoli, prosciutto, and cheese are all salty already.  If you’re a salt fiend, go ahead and use a full teaspoon, but otherwise, start small)
1 cup grated baked potato, mashed smooth
5 TB unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup buttermilk
1 – 1½ cups chopped roasted broccoli florets
Crumbled prosciutto from 6 strips (you could easily substitute an equal quantity of bacon)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, as sharp as you can find

 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, mashed potato, baking powder, and salt.  You want a homogenous mixture: no big potato chunks.
  • Using a fork, two knives, or (my favorite) a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it is the size of large peas.  This will also help break up any remaining hunks of potato.
  • Add the cheese, prosciutto, and broccoli, and incorporate until they are distributed evenly.
  • Add buttermilk and stir with a fork.  You are looking for everything to combine into a rough, shaggy-looking dough.
  • Turn your dough out onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times with the heels of your hands until it is more willing to cling together.  Press it out into a rectangle or circle about 1 inch thick.
  • Using a biscuit cutter or the floured rim of a drinking glass, punch out biscuits by pressing straight down, NOT twisting.  This will help the biscuits rise better by not disrupting their layers.
  • Once you have punched as many as you can from the dough rectangle, gather the scraps, knead them together once or twice, and press the dough out again.  Continue until no more dough remains (making one or two funky-looking biscuit bits is totally acceptable: you can call those the cook’s tax and gobble them while no one is looking).
  • As you punch out biscuits, place them on a greased or parchment lined baking tray.
  • Bake in a preheated 425F oven for 15-18 minutes.
  • Eat while hot, warm, or room temperature, if you can wait that long.

Food Blog May 2013-1407