Friday, May 4, 2012

Savory Zabaglione - Gael Green


Gael Green changed the way New Yorkers dined. She changed they way people thought about food. And in changing New York City, she effected change throughout the country. As such, Gael Green is Week #46 on Gourmet's list of female game-changers in food. Widely credited as coining the word "foodie," Green intended to make her mark as a novelist. In-between writing her novel she supported herself by being a stringer in Detroit for the Detroit Free Press and freelancing for magazines. After a stint at the New York Post, she became the restaurant critic for New York Magazine in 1968. She would remain there until 2008 when she was quite famously - fired.

"It's as if they removed the lions from the library steps," said Michael Batterberry, editor and publisher of Food Arts Magazine.
But by the time she was fired, she had established herself as knowledgeable, lusty and irrepressible (having written articles titled "Nobody Knows the Truffles I've Seen," "Everything You Wanted to Know about Ice Cream but Were Too Fat to Ask" and "The Mafia's Guide to Eating Out.") and her unemployment did not last long. She would continue to write books (a novel Blue Skies, No Candy, and her memoir Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess had been published earlier.)

Famous for wearing huge hats that hid her face, she also gave back to society with such programs as City Wheels-on-Meals which she co-founded in 1981 with James Beard. She has been honored with awards for her writing as well as for her humanitarian work.  




Today she continues to write, judge chef competitions and has a website Insatiable Critic by Gael Green which chronicles her food journeys as well as her still-present lust for life.

Because Green is a writer and not a chef, her recipes were either sparse or admittedly from other chefs. I scoured her food writing and came across her review of eating-all-things-wonderful in Sicily at the blog SICILIAMO which contained one of her articles for the NY Times.

"Tradition hits the fan at Il Mulinazzo, with its two Michelin stars, helmed by Nino Graziano, a veteran of several kitchens in France. It’s just south of Palermo in Villafrati, a quick drive for lunch. Even the tradizionale tasting menu shows off Sicilian cooking creatively rethought: elegant snapper tartare with oil and lemon on warm chickpea fritters, lasagnetta with sardines and wild fennel, almond couscous in a fish soup, rack of lamb with an asparagus zabaglione."

Asparagus zabaglione? What was that? A savory zabagalione? Taking something traditionally sweet and making it savory and you have colored me 'obsessed.' A little cayenne pepper in a rich chocolate cake surprises me and makes me dig in further. Give me dark chocolate (please) and add some salt and I return again and again to pack on the calories with spice and glee.

When I read books - and suddenly a moment of inspired silliness turns poignant - or a tender turn of phrase continues on to the irreverent, I am intrigued. I think there is a truism - that really - that is what life is like. Rich with sweet cream and hot peppers. Careful and careless. 

Is this the asparagus zabaglione that Green describes? No. I am sure the zabaglione actually had asparagus in it! But it is a fun inspiration of Green's description and perfect with a grilled or roasted vegetable. Inspired by Gael Green, I bring you Mario Batali's Savory Zabaglione with Black Pepper and Parmesan.. Richly decadent with hints of salt from the cheese and spicy black pepper, it's a concerto that's not afraid of containing too many notes.

Play with it - once you wrap your taste buds around this, the possibilities unfold. Today, I am thinking of this with asparagus puree, or taleggio instead of the Parmesan or pungent herbs...


Warm Asparagus with Black Pepper-Parmesan Zabaglione - serves 4
2 pounds medium asparagus
6 extra-large egg yolks (which makes me thankful for my sincere love of egg-white omelettes))
1 extra-large egg
1/2 cup dry, fragrant wine (he suggest Vin Santo - I cannot get that here, in Italy every home seems to make their own)
3 tablespoons sweet butter - room temperature
3 tablespoons heavy cream - slightly warmed (I didn't warm it but it was at room temp)
1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon freshly-cracked pepper
salt to taste

Note: Batali has you cook the asparagus for exactly 1 minute and 15 seconds in the bottom of the double boiler as you whisk the zabaglione on top. I roasted it at 425 degrees F for about 5 minutes. I have a thing for roasted asparagus. It balances my "thing" for salty-dark chocolate. 
Wash asparagus and snap off stems with fingers. In a double boiler combine yolks, egg and wine with whisk and stir vigorously until frothy. Remove egg mixture from heat and add asparagus to the bottom half of pan and cook for 1 minute, 15 seconds (remember: I roasted). Meanwhile, whisk butter, cream, Parmesan and pepper into egg mixture. Season with salt. Drain asparagus, dry it, divide into four servings, spoon sauce over it and serve. 

Check out what the other bloggers are doing to honor this week's game-changer Gael Green and if you want to join in the fun, e-mail Mary at One Perfect Bite. Mary started this delectable journey.

Susan - The Spice GardenHeather - girlichef,
Miranda - Mangoes and ChutneyJeanette - Healthy Living
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Martha - Simple Nourished Living



40 comments:

Beth said...

Is there anything more delicious than asparagus in spring? What a gorgeous photo!

Kathy said...

Asparagus is always a hit with me…and the savory zabaglione sounds wonderfully interesting! I would love to give this a try!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love this idea of a savory zabaglione with asparagus. I was watching an Italian tv cooking show and today they put grated pecorino, water and black pepper into a container and blended it into a sauce. same idea, but without the richness of a zabaglione.

Tina Bk said...

Whoever fired her probably has been marked for life. Obviously it had no impact on her or her career!
This recipe here does paint a different picture of what I know to be zabaglione, but obviously works quite deliciously. This was a good read! Happy Friday!

Barbara F. said...

Wow, I love traditional dessert zabaglione, but I am going to give this a try. It would be good on broccoli, too, I think, or even cauliflower. Great recipe. I love pencil thin asparagus in the spring. We would always make a frittata with it, or dip in flour and egg and fry, so good. xo

Mary said...

What an inspired sauce. I hit the farm stands tomorrow and asparagus is abundant. I'll be able to try this recipe on Sunday night. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

Barbara said...

Love this sauce, Claudia. Makes such a fabulous change from hollandaise, which is getting old and tired.
Super post about Gael....

Angie's Recipes said...

This is a completely new thing to me. Green asparagus pair so good with a zabaglione. So much more delicious and creative than a Hollandaise.

Lyndsey said...

Very interesting post, and recipe! I like the ones you can play around with :)

Lizzy said...

Oh, yes!!! I adore roasted asparagus, too...and this savory sauce sounds like an elegant accompaniment! Very yummy!

Gina said...

I think I would love Gael. I love reading these posts, I must confess to not being familiar with some of these remarkable women. I love everything about this post, I can feel your inspiration here. I've been eating asparagus at least once a week sometimes twice, will have to make this soon. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a sunny one at that.
-Gina-

Susan said...

What a fascinating post! I love asparagus & would love to try this.

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

That asparagus looks so fresh and perfectly cooked. I could go for some of that now.

Miranda said...

I don't think I have even had zabaglione before. I know. I like the idea of pureeing asparagus to go in it as well - yummy!

Heather @girlichef.com said...

Oh, careful and careless - I LOVE it! This is so simply beautiful.

sweetsamsations said...

I've never had zabaglione (did I spell it right? lol) but the creamy sauce sure looks very delicious! lots of egg yolks and butter and cream and cheese... it almost sounds like a recipe for custard! I bet this tastes so good with the asparagus

CJ - Food Stories said...

I love asparagus all ways and I love that you were inspired by such an important foodie ... Bravo!

Mari said...

You got me with the freshly cracked pepper, I love it!

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Lynda said...

This looks so tempting and delicious Claudia;this sauce sounds like a must try for me. We are really enjoying asparagus this spring and roasted is my favorite to prepare it.

SKIP TO MALOU said...

your asparagus sings It's S-P-R-I-N-G! and that zabaglione, sounds like a tongue twister for me, but I'm definitely intrigued. Gael Green? who doesn't know her especially with her signature hats. I love her on TOp CHef too haha.
have a GReat weekend Claudia!
xo,
Malou

bellini said...

This sounds like a wonderful sauce to go with all of the seasonal asparagus right now!

FOODESSA said...

Always in the mood for a creamy sauce...especially one that can combine like this one.
Claudia, I would only imagine that the hard to get 'Vin Santo' is probably too strong for this luscious sauce. Personally, I'd switch it for a nice dry Sherry or your switch is perfect as well ;o)

Have a great week,
Claudia

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

She was quite a character. I love the pictures everyone has shown of her in the hats. A formidable presence for sure.

I'm not familiar with a savory zabagalione, but it sounds divine with the asparagus. Would make a great Mother's day dish.
Sam

love2dine said...

I really like your blog - and these photos are gorgeous!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This is a truly special way to present the unexpected combination of asparagus and eggs. Love Gael Green and her sassy commentary.

Balvinder Ubi said...

I am not familiar with many foods and zabaglione is one of them.It sounds good enough to try with asapragus.

Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) said...

Mm, this looks delicious and decadent - the perfect Sunday asparagus.

Jeanette said...

I too had trouble finding any recipes this week - I think Gael Greene would approve of the zabaglione you made!

Pegasuslegend said...

Very delicious sounding sauce. HAve never liked asparagus but this has got to change my mind.. rich and very desireable on any vegetable!

love2dine said...

That is too good, feel like grabbing them out of the screen.

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

I have never heard from this woman's writer before thanks, for chaicing that! :)

A savoury zablagioni is a real cool idea! Served with green asparagus is even better! xxx

Erica said...

I love asparagus! The sauce looks like the perfect dipping for that wonderful spring vegetable!

Natasha Price said...

I love the idea of savory zabaglione what a perfect accompaniment for asparagus!

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

Wow!! This recipe is excellent...I'm dreaming of it already!
Thanks!

Reeni said...

Another unique recipe! What a great idea! It seems so perfectly matched with the asparagus. My mind immediately wandered to potatoes too...

Martha@ Simple Nourished Living said...

What a clever interpretation. I love asparagus and Mario's savory zabaglione sounds incredible!

Frank said...

I love the idea of a savory zabaglione! Right up my alley... :=)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a great sauce! It must complement the asparaguses perfectly.

Cheers,

Rosa

Jill~a SaucyCook said...

What an exceptional post you have written here. You have captured the essence of Gael so wonderfully and your recipe has caused me to drool all over my keyboard! I love the suggestions you make to change it around and I can not wait to play with this. Thanks!

Cucina49 said...

I remember reading about Gael and her hats years ago--Ruth Reichl did that too. I've never seen a savory zabaglione before--this looks like a marvelous accompaniment to that asparagus!