BY RICHARD MOOREY
SUMMER as always is going way to fast. We have been really lucky when it comes to weather this year so far and the days have been gorgeous and enjoyable. There are still, with any luck a few weeks of amazing weather left and with late summer comes more delicious and fresh produce to bring to the table and tantalize your taste buds.
Some of my late summer harvest favourites are tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, leeks, beets, parsnip, carrots, corn, cauliflower and peas. In addition to all of the late summer produce we already have some fall items showing up including apples, broccoli, rapini, celery, zucchini, artichokes and squash so we are quite literally spoiled for choice.
Harvest foods that are in season are for sure delicious and add an element of fresh flavour to your meals. They are definitely something to enjoy while we still have the ability to get them without the need for long haul trucks and crates labelled product of “elsewhere.” With our short season drawing to a close there is definitely no better time to be creating with fresh from home foods.
Pairing up late summer flavours is something that I love to do as a chef. Tomatoes with basil and soft cheeses, eggplant mini pizzas, roasted garlic and fresh bread, roasted root vegetables with olive oil and honey drizzle, grilled cauliflower, roasted corn with citrus and herb butter and the list goes on. There are millions of recipes out there to explore and help you enjoy all of your favourites and endless ways to tempt your taste buds.
Experimenting in the kitchen is for sure one of my most favourite things to do and once in a while you end up creating one of those dishes that’s worthy of putting into the archives to use again and again. I did an in home anniversary dinner recently for a neighbour and used a traditional pairing of rapini and sausage. It was definitely a winner with the local Big Lake pasta I paired it with and I would definitely make it again but it was the leftovers I had to play with where I hit upon one of those keeper recipes the other day.
I am a big fan of rapini and sausage to start with but it’s always been a lunch or dinner thing. That’s when I decided that I wanted to work it into breakfast. Pairing it up with breakfast fare with touches of dinner time savoury flavours it definitely made for a breakfast of big flavours that I’m for sure going to keep in my permanent repertoire.
So here’s a late summer recipe for some veggies that is sure to please and get you as amped up about our local seasonal ingredients as I am.
Rapini and Sausage Scramble with Crispy Homefries
2 large russet potatoes
4 tbsp. olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
1 bunch rapini, ends removed
3 tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup small diced Spanish or yellow onion
2 Garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red chili flakes
3 tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil
1/2 Red onion, peeled, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. Italian flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1/2 cup Romano, shaved
2 tbsp. butter, cold, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Rub potatoes with two tablespoons olive oil. Season each potato generously with salt and pepper. Place potatoes on a sheet tray and roast until fork tender, approximately one hour. Let potatoes cool and chill in refrigerator.
When potatoes are cold dice and set aside until ready to make home fries.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt. Blanch the rapini until bright green and tender, about three or four minutes. Shock in an ice bath to stop cooking.
Drain the rapini and pat dry. Chop into half inch pieces.
Whisk together eggs and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sausage. Cook sausage until beginning to brown and break sausage up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Add yellow onions, garlic, and a pinch of chili flakes. Sauté until onions are soft and sausage is cooked.
Add blanched rapini to sausage mixture. Keep on low heat until ready to cook eggs.
Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When oil is very hot. Add cooked russet potatoes and red onions. Sauté until crisp and golden. Season with salt and paprika. Keep warm over low heat or in a warm oven.
Add the eggs and butter to the rapini and sausage. Scramble the mixture, scraping the sides, until the eggs form soft curds. Immediately place eggs on a warm plate. Garnish with the shaved Romano.
Toss the potatoes with parsley and serve next to the scrambled eggs. Enjoy immediately.
Richard Moorey (aka Chef House) can be reached with email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through his website at www.evot.ca, or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.