Easter is around the corner and there are plenty of Italian traditions that go with it. I would say that for Italians, Easter is the second most...
Mother Nature has finally shed her winter coat in favor of the glorious, vibrant Spring. For many of us across the US, what a long, cold winter it has been. So the slightest sign of Spring’s vibrant glory is enough to bring tears to my eyes at the farm market. First it was the smell of a fresh light spring rain around me as I walked into the market. But soon my attention took notice that the colors of the vegetables before me had finally started turning from winter beiges to vibrant hues of spring greens. I could almost feel the vibration of spring amongst the piles of asparagus and radishes. Spring actually did arrive this year. La primavera è arrivata!!
The market tables were filled with the earliest of spring vegetables. Near the pile of asparagus, a little basket of colorful radishes peered up at me. The little handwritten sign called them ‘Easter Egg’ radishes. The little pile of cheery vibrant red, pink, white radishes were a sight for tired winter eyes. I remembered recently reading a recipe in La Cucina Italiana that roasted radishes, making them the star of the dish. This sounded like a splendid idea as I couldn’t resist the colors of these little beauties. I piled on a few purple spring onions, a small head of cauliflower, a few purple potatoes and a vibrant bunch of colorful carrots. A little package of crisp microgreens and farm fresh eggs was all I needed to complete my spring meal!
If you do try this recipe at home, let this glorious season be your guide. Pick whatever vegetables are your favorites for roasting. Try to cut the vegetables in roughly the same size if at all possible so they roast evenly (which is near impossible, I know). But if your potatoes and cauliflower are in bigger chunks than your little radishes or onions, toss those on a separate sheet pan to allow them to roast longer. Or start them first and just toss in the smaller bits later. Don’t fret…spring is finally here. Let our palates awaken; let the season begin. Buona primavera e buon appetito!
Spring Roasted Vegetables with Poached Eggs
For the roasted vegetables:
Cook’s Note: Use whatever vegetables you like and/or can find at the market. These amounts are not exact – feel free to use more or less of a specific vegetable or omit completely. Let the season be your guide!
• 3 orange and 3 purple carrots, cut into sticks (if you cannot find purple carrots, use all orange)
• 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally
• 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered and sliced thinly
• ½ head cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets
• 3 or 4 purple potatoes, halved and sliced thinly (or use favorite type of potato)
• Radishes, 1 small bunch, halved and sliced thinly
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
• About 2 ounces baby arugula
• About 2 ounces micro greens
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ½ lemon, juiced
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh cold eggs, for poaching
White wine vinegar
Prepare the vegetables: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prep all the vegetables and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the vegetables between 2 baking sheets and spread out into an even layer. Place in oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
Prepare the salad: Place the arugula and micro greens in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and juice of the lemon. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bring a small saucepot of water to a simmer. Add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar. Crack one egg into a small ramekin or bowl. Using a fork, swirl the water to create a bit of a whirlpool effect (this helps the egg white stay together a bit better). Slowly slip the egg into the water. Turn off heat, cover, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. (Leave the egg alone for the entire time!) Remove with slotted spoon and gently place on paper towels to drain.
To assemble: Plate the roasted vegetables on a plate. Top with a bit of the salad. Drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Slide a warm poached egg on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and some micro greens. Serve!
Joe and Michele Becci are a brother and sister team who love all things Italian. Joe lives in LA; Michele in eastern Pennsylvania. Together, they co-author the blog.