Your Life A to Z

Green & White Asparagus Salad & Cheesecake with Seasonal Berries

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Recipe courtesy of Chef Christopher Gross of the Wrigley Mansion

Green & White Asparagus Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:
12 white asparagus spears
12 green asparagus spears
1 cup mushroom (button, cremini, or wild); sliced
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tbsp. shallot; finely minced
2 whole cloves of garlic; peeled and smashed
4 tbsp. sherry vinegar
2 leaves of gelatin
8 oz. heavy cream, warmed
4 tbsp. EVO

Method:
• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water (set aside). Add 12 white asparagus spears to the pot and simmer until tender (about 5 minutes). Remove from pot and immediately shock the spears in ice water to cool. Remove from water to a large, clean bowl. Add shallots and EVO and toss, then season to taste with salt (set aside).
• Add 12 green asparagus to boiling salted water and simmer until tender (about 5 minutes). Remove the spears from the pot, and while still hot, put them in a blender and puree with warm cream. Add the 2 leaves of gelatin to the puree, blend and strain. While still warm, ladle green puree on a plate and cover the bottom and put in the refrigerator to cool.
• In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook the mushrooms with the smashed garlic cloves and unsalted butter until the mushrooms release their water and get a nice, brown exterior (about 7 minutes).
• When ready to serve, remove plates from the refrigerator. To the bowl with the white asparagus, EVO and shallots, add sherry vinegar, toss, and check for seasoning. Once ready, place white asparagus mixture atop the green puree in the center of the plate.
• Garnish with sautéed mushrooms arranged around the plates and serve.

Cheesecake with Seasonal Berries
Serves 6

Cheesecake ingredients:
2 cups cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp. crème fraiche
6 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1 egg
1 cup sliced almonds; toasted
6 crepes of brik (optional)
Sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
1 cup Champagne
Garnish ingredients:
12 strawberries
18 raspberries

Method:
• For the cheesecake: Preheat oven to 2l0 degrees.  Using an electric mixer, cream sugar and cream cheese together, scraping the bowl well.  Continue mixing on medium-low speed until there are no lumps. Set mixer to low, add crème fraîche and heavy cream.  Scrape bowl then add egg and continue mixing. Place 80MM bottomless-ring mousse molds (or use 6 oz. ramekins) on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or silat. Line the molds with the brik and fill molds two-thirds full and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Fill sheet pan with as much water as possible and bake on middle rack for 1 1/2 hours or until center is firm.  Let cool before unmolding.
• For the sauce: Warm honey in saucepan over medium heat then deglaze with champagne.
• For the presentation: Invert cheesecake in center of dessert plate (so almonds are on the bottom) and pour honey sauce over top then garnish with fresh fruit.
• Chef says: If you can’t find crème fraîche in your local gourmet specialty store, it’s very simple to make.  Combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container; cover and let stand at room temperature for 8-24 hours (until very thick).  Stir well, cover and refrigerate up to 10 days.

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