Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears

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[UPDATED May 18, 2012: This ain’t a new recipe (it’s from over a year ago), but it continues to be popular and the old photos were all kinds of horrible, so I updated this post with new pics. Enjoy (again!)]

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Broiled prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears are a quick and delicious app that’s perfect for any Paleo party. The prosciutto crisps up like bacon while the sweet asparagus in the middle gets soft and tender. When you drizzle aged balsamic vinegar on the roasted spears, you end up with a dish that satisfies your sweet, salty, and sour cravings. Plus you get veggies and meat all in one morsel that you can just pop in your mouth with your hands.

Here’s what to assemble to make enough spears to feed 10 hungry adults:

  • 3 bunches of asparagus, stems trimmed 2 inches from the bottom
  • 2 four-ounce packages of prosciutto di parma
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Avocado oil or fat of choice (update 4/22/13: I use 2 tablespoons melted ghee)
  • Aged balsamic vinegar

Here’s what you do:

Preheat the broiler to high (with the rack 6 inches from the heating element) and assemble the ingredients.

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Divide the asparagus evenly onto two large baking trays…

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…drizzle some avocado oil over the spears, and season with salt and pepper.

Don’t go crazy with the salt because the prosciutto is plenty salty.

Cut each slice of prosciutto into 3 thin strips and wrap one strip around each asparagus spear. 

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Pop a tray under the broiler for ~5-8 minutes (tossing the spears at the halfway point) or until the prosciutto crisps up and the asparagus is tender. Repeat the process with the second tray.

Broiled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Plate the spears when they’re finished and drizzle on some aged balsamic vinegar.

Yes, my friends — it’s that easy.

Celery Root, Will You Forgive Me?

I have a confession to make.

Every time I received celery root in my CSA box, I’d stash it in the far recesses of my crisper and conveniently forget about it until it was covered with mold. Part of the reason was because I didn’t know what the hell to do with it. But it was also ‘cause celery root’s so damn ugly and unappealing-looking. Did I mention that I’m both lazy and superficial?

Okay. I know celery root is yummy. I’ve been served it numerous times and in various forms at lots of fancy restaurants. With that in mind, I decided it was time to overcome my bias against unattractive vegetables and cook this ugly mofo up.

To prepare the celery root for roasting, I peeled off the skin with my trusty Oxo vegetable peeler and trimmed off the ends and brown spots. After slicing the roots into matchstick-sized strips, I tossed them with avocado oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and roasted them with similarly-prepared carrots at 375 F (convection roast) for ~40 minutes.

The roasted celery root tasted remarkably like potato (same texture, too) with a sweet hint of celery. I can’t believe I wasted so many celery roots in the past! From here on out, I pledge not to judge a vegetable by its ugly-ass cover.

David Lebovitz’s Super Easy Roast Chicken with Caramelized Shallots (Whole30 Style)

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David Lebovitz, will you marry me and be my gay husband? I know I’m not worthy but I’ll promise to adore you, do your laundry, and laugh at all your jokes.

Seriously, he’s one of my favorite food bloggers and cookbook authors of all time. I’m a daily snooper on his site because his posts are so damn funny, witty, and chockfull of fail-proof recipes. Before I morphed into a cavegirl, I was always making one of his ice cream recipes or a batch of his cookies. Maybe that’s why I always had a thick middle…

One of my regular go-to weeknight meals is his savory recipe for roast chicken with shallots. The recipe takes about 5 minutes of prep time and the rest of the cooking is done in the oven. You’ll have plenty of time to make side dishes or even a sidecar cocktail.

Upon closer inspection, his recipe isn’t really Whole30 compliant due to the soy sauce and I don’t want to use extra virgin olive oil since it’s being roasted at a high temperature. I was determined to make it work so tonight I made some substitutions to make the dish more pleasing to my Paleo friends. You’re welcome.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil (or butter, coconut oil, ghee, animal fat)
  • 3 tablespoons Banyuls vinegar (or your favorite vinegar - sherry is fantastic!)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and minced (you can also substitute 2 medium onions)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • large handful of Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

Here’s what I did:

I preheated the oven to 425 F. In a 9x13 baking dish, I whisked together the avocado oil, vinegar, shallots, coconut aminos, a generous amount salt (I used 3 large pinches) and freshly ground pepper.

Then, I tossed the chicken with the mixture making sure the pieces were well-coated with shallots.

I turned the chicken skin-side up and popped the dish in the oven. After 20 minutes, I flipped the chicken pieces (making sure to top the chicken pieces with shallots again).

About 25 minutes later, the chicken was finished cooking and the shallots were caramelized. I removed the chicken from the oven…

 …flipped it skin side up…

…and tossed on the chopped parsley.

This chicken was really flavorful: slightly tangy, onion-y, and delicious. The dish creates it’s own sauce which you MUST spoon onto your chicken. It smells so damn good while it’s cooking and it’s so effing easy. You should definitely put it in your repertoire!

I’ve tried this recipe with lots of different vinegars (e.g. sherry, red wine, balsamic, champagne) but Banyuls vinegar is awesome. It’s a nicely balanced vinegar made from Banyuls, a dessert wine  produced from old vines cultivated in terraces on the slopes of the Catalan Pyrenees in the Roussillon county of France.

Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Try it if you can find it!

Baked Kale Chips

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For years, my super-chef sister’s been telling me about kale chips. In my pre-Paleo life, I tried making them a few times, but I found it soooo much easier to tear open a bag of potato chips. Since going Paleo, though, baked kale chips have made a huge a comeback in our house.

To make kale chips, however, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. The kale leaves must be SUPER DRY.
  2. Bake the kale at 350°F.
  3. Cook the chips for 12 minutes.
  4. Salt AFTER the kale chips are out of the oven.

Here’s what you need to make your own chips:

  • 2 bunches of kale
  • 1-2 tablespoons of avocado oil
  • fleur de sel or your favorite seasoning salt

Here’s what to do:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, remove the leaves from the stems and wash the leaves well in a few changes of water. (The stuff I buy from the farmer’s market is often dirty. I don’t know about you, but I find that chips taste better sans dirt.)

Then, in small batches, spin the leaves dry in a salad spinner.

Pro tip: If at all possible, use child labor to help with the spinning.

Toss the dry leaves with avocado oil and use your hands to distribute the oil evenly.

Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay some of the leaves on top in a single layer.

Make sure the leaves are all flat and not folded over or they won’t crisp properly.

Pop the tray in the oven, and…

…after just 12 minutes, the chips’ll be done! (Set your timer and keep an eye on the kale, ‘cause if the chips burns, they’ll be bitter — and so will you.)

Once the kale’s out of the oven, season the chips with some fleur de sel or your favorite seasoning salt.

Eat ‘em up!

Welcome Another Fat Into My Pantry: Avocado Oil!

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Even though my lovely hubby bought me a new container of lard,

I’ve been experimenting with other high heat cooking oils.

Don’t get me wrong. I love lard but, due to my laziness, I don’t want to use a cooking fat that requires me to liquefy it before I use it. I really love the bottle of macadamia nut oil I purchased over X-mas but I’ve been using it so much that I’m almost finished with it.

After trolling the Internet, I decided that I should purchase some avocado oil.

It’s purported to have the same health benefits as olive oil BUT it has a much higher smoke point of 491° F. Plus, it’s listed in my Whole30 Success Guide as one of the BEST sources of monounsaturated fats. Nice.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, a two-pack arrived on my doorstep in two days. The avocado oil is very mild tasting oil and I’ve been subbing it in for olive oil in everything I’ve cooked today. Me likey.