So while you look at pictures of the "living lettuce" and asparagus and the tasty pasta they went into, can I ask you a small favor? Can you help a girl out with travel planning? We'll be spending four days in Portland, OR and five in Seattle, WA, and I want to know: what should we not miss? According to Jeanette I have to try the Hedge House Pub's signature salad in Portland, and my mom says I should check out the library in Seattle. I want to drink the local IPAs, and order the pickle plate at Boat Street Cafe. Other plans include drinking boatloads of coffee, and Adam (excellent activities coordinator that he is) snagged us tickets to see Anthony Bourdain's lecture/talk/book promotion event at the Keller Auditorium. Please (please?) leave your suggestions in the comments. I would really love to hear them.
And while we're on the topic of suggestions, might I suggest you give this spring-on-a-plate pasta dish a try? Really, I mean, asparagus, pea shoots, LETTUCE? It's crunchy and delicious and good warm or cold. You could even take it with you to a barbecue this weekend!
Adapted from Bon Appetit
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
handful of spring onions or green onions (dark green parts discarded); white parts cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, pale green parts cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 small minced shallot
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 pound asparagus, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces
a couple of handfuls of pea shoots, (or 2 cups fresh peas, cooked briefly with the asparagus)3/4 pound campanelle (trumpet-shaped pasta) or medium (about 1-inch) shell-shaped pasta
most of a head of butter lettuce or Boston lettuce, cored, leaves cut into 3/4-inch-wide slices
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for sprinkling
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, you'll need it in a minute.
Melt butter with 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and shallot. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Sauté until tender (but not brown), about 8 minutes. Add wine; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid is reduced to glaze, about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer; set aside.
Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus, I usually put the stalks in first and the quicker-cooking tips a minute or two later. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to large bowl of ice water and return the water to a boil.
Cook pasta until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Meanwhile, reheat onion mixture. Add lettuce and stir just until wilted, about 1 minute. Add drained asparagus and peas; stir until heated through. Add pasta, Parmesan cheese, and parsley to skillet with vegetables; toss, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle prosciutto over; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.