Series Guest Matt Clark (l) with his partner Stephen Der Margosian
enjoying his delicious Spring Brunch on the patio at Bittersweet Cottage.
Part 2 of our first Guest Series takes us to Bittersweet Cottage & Suite, where co-owner Matt Clark is whipping up a delicious Spring Brunch featuring the local and seasonal goodies we picked up at the Tailgate Market in Part 1.
Bittersweet Cottage, a beautiful getaway just minutes from downtown Asheville.
A reminder of what we found at the Tailgate Market:
Fresh ramps, kale, quali eggs, lamb sausage, a fine baguette,
sunflower sprouts and Matt's homemade pickled beets & onions.
Matt at work in his uniquely spaced, yet highly functional kitchen.
Matt wanted to keep the preparation simple to let the flavors of these fresh, local ingredients be the star attraction. And these recipes can work throughout the year as other varieties of greens come into season. If you can't find quail eggs, you can use chicken eggs (even better if from your own chickens or from a local farmer!). And the same goes for the lamb sausage - this is a recipe that can have many variations.
Ramp Pesto on Toasted Baguette
Lamb Sausage with Kale, Ramps, & Quail Eggs
Pickled Beets with Sunflower Sprouts
Asheville Brewing Company Shiva Ale
Our crusty baguette and Ramp Pesto, in small crock
by Matt Clark (did I mention he's also a potter?)
by Matt Clark (did I mention he's also a potter?)
(makes approx. 1 cup)
Ramps have a deliciously strong flavor, and the raw garlic jumps right in with an added zip. The pesto would still be great without the garlic, if it makes you shy!
2 cups loosely packed tender ramp greens*, chopped
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup raw walnuts, lightly toasted
1 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste
1 fresh, crusty baguette
Place ramp greens, nuts, garlic, cheese, black pepper, and lemon juice in food processor. Pulse or run on low until ingredients are evenly processed. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Taste for salt and salt to taste.
can't you just smell it?
Cut baguette on the diagonal in 1/2" slices. Lightly toast under the broiler. Lightly brush or drizzle with olive oil, then spread pesto on top of each slice. Garnish with thinly sliced radish.
*We used one bunch of ramps for the entire menu, using the tender leaves for the pesto and adding the chopped stems to the Kale (recipe follows).
Lamb Sausage on a bed of kale & ramps with bacon,
stoneware serving platter by Crazy Green Studios.
Sausage & Kale
1 pound lamb sausage, whole
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 pound kale, rinsed, stems removed and chopped, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup chopped ramp stems & bulbs
4 slices bacon*
fresh ground pepper
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
*use your favorite bacon. Matt had just splurged on some Mangalitsa (wooly pig!) bacon from Johnston County Hams (Smithfield, NC), and we used that. Smokey, salty, rampy greens.
Cook the bacon in a 12" skillet until as crisp as you like it. Set aside on paper towels to drain off excess grease while you prepare the rest of the dish. Pour off all but 1 TBSP of the bacon grease and reserve for other uses.
In a 10" saute pan, heat 1 tsp. vegetable oil over medium heat. Brown whole sausages on all sides, then remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, cut on diagonal into 1" slices. Reheat oil and brown sausage on cut sides (in batches if necessary).
Re-heat the pan over medium heat, then add the chopped kale stems and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Add chopped ramp bulbs & stems and continue to cook another minute or so, then add the torn kale leaves and sprinkle vinegar over the pan. Stir greens and continue to cook until the kale leaves are wilted and tender (we used young kale, which was already tender, so this didn't take very long at all). Remove from heat.
quail eggsQuail Eggs
3 quail eggs per serving
salt & pepper to taste
Heat a 10" saute pan over medium heat. Add just enough oil to grease the pan. Carefully break three eggs into a saucer. The inner membrane is tougher than a chicken egg, so we ended up cracking the egg with the back of a knife, then making a slit in the crack to make opening the shell easier. When the pan is hot, gently slide the three eggs together into the pan. Lightly season with salt & pepper and cook to 'sunny side up' (firm whites, soft yolks). Slide cooked eggs onto a clean plate and cook off in batches for each serving.
To serve: crumble some of the bacon atop the greens and serve with several slices of the sausage, and slide the quail eggs on top of the greens. Serve with a side of pickled beets & onions on a bed of sunflower sprouts, drizzled with the liquid from the pickled beets and a sprinkle of salt.
Spring Brunch, served on stoneware plates by Crazy Green Studios
We leave you with our lovely view from the patio outside Bittersweet Cottage, until our next adventure (hint... have you ever cooked with stinging nettles?)!