Monday, February 28, 2011

Knitting & Food: Green Eggs & Ham

Update:  Apparently Tuesday March 2 is also Dr. Suess' birthday, making this fun dish even more timely. I can't think of a more flavorful or fun way to celebrate this literary icon's birthday. 

Now I know I usually post meatless recipes for Meatless Monday, but today is the inaugural post for my new Knitting & Food Series.  I have partnered with In the Loop, a knitting store back in my hometown of Norfolk, MA to create recipes that go along with the store's monthly themes.  In the Loop's theme for March is "Green," which I think is great since all of us who live in snowy, cold places are craving a bit of green in our lives, myself included.  They don't call Canada the Great White North for nothing and while it was wonderful to wake up yesterday morning for a lovely dusting of fresh snow, I'm just about ready for Spring to get here.

With a task set forward I began to brainstorm.  It initially seemed like such a broad assignment, there is a plethora of green foods and I was given complete freedom to take it in any direction.  I thought about St. Patty's Day and about the possibility of incorporating that into my recipe.  I thought of all kinds of veggies.  I thought of these Green Velvet Cupcakes I made a few years ago, when I finally settled on one of my favorite children's books Green Eggs & Ham.  There have been a few different Food Network Chef treatments of this book, but I was determined to make my own version, utilizing some fabulous ingredients and turning it into a flavorful and simple brunch dish that will help ring in the spring.

Green Eggs & Ham
serves 4

4 eggs
3 slices prosciutto
8 tsps light cream
4 Tbsps Spinach Pistachio Pesto (recipe below)
butter for ramekins
sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly butter 4 4-oz ramekins and place on a cookie sheet.
2.  Slice each piece of prosciutto into 1/2" thick ribbons.  Divide evenly between the 4 ramekins. 
3.  Crack 1 egg into a small bowl and carefully pour on top of prosciutto, repeat with the rest of the eggs and ramekins (by cracking the egg into a bowl first you make sure no shells get in each ramekin)
4. Top each egg with 2 tsps of light cream and 1 Tbsp of spinach pistachio pesto.  Top with a pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.
5.  Bake for 15 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with crusty bread and fresh fruit.

Spinach Pistachio Pesto
makes 1 cup

5 oz fresh spinach - washed and dried
1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios - shelled
2 garlic cloves - peeled
1/3 cup grated pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1.  Place pistachios and garlic in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment (a blender will work too). Pulse for a few second to begin to break down the garlic & nuts.  Add the spinach to the food processor and pulse until a chunk paste forms.  
2.  Stream the olive oil in as the food processor is running until it is too a thick saucy consistency.  Add the grated cheese and pulse once or twice to combine.  Reserve sauce for use in Green Eggs & Ham or toss with pasta for an easy dinner.

This recipe can easily be made meatless by omitting the ham, and even amping up the green with some sauteed spinach, but since I was using a book where Ham was in the title I wanted to follow-through all the way.  And I have to be honest I'm happy I did, this dish is fabulous, packed with flavor and I am in LOVE with the Spinach Pistachio Pesto, I have quite a bit leftover that will absolutely be making an appearance in a recipe later this week. 

While today's recipe is much more of a Spring-inspired recipe stay tuned later in the month for a green recipe that I think will pair perfectly with your St. Patty's Day celebrations.  


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