Michelle Tam and Henry Fong want you to know that a paleo diet is not just meat. (Though they certainly do like meat.)
In adopting a food culture that draws not just on the pre-industrialization era, but on pre-agricultural eating habits, popular paleo blogger Tam and her husband Fong have come to value value fresh vegetables, lean proteins…and ghee. (See below to find out what’s the deal with ghee?!)
Paleo eaters generally eschew dairy (along with grains and legumes), but Tam and Fong and many others make an exception for ghee, because clarifying butter removes its milk solids. Tam says the result tastes rich and works beautifully in a wide variety of high-temperature cooking adventures.
To make Cavolini Al Forno, the couple roasts Brussels sprouts in ghee, tosses them with a mustard vinaigrette, and serves the dish with sieved hard-boiled eggs and crumbled prosciutto chips.
More paleo talk coming this Saturday, when Tam and Fong appear on Good Food.
CAVOLINI AL FORNO
From Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC
Makes 6 servings
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
As the name suggests, Brussels sprouts hail from Belgium, where these tender buds have been cultivated for centuries. But sadly, they’re nowhere near as popular as their culinary compatriot: Belgian waffles. I get it: most people prefer syrup-drenched breakfast cakes to vegetables.
But obviously, they haven’t yet tried roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in a sharp mustard vinaigrette and topped with prosciutto chips and sieved egg. This hearty Italian side will convert even the staunchest sprouts hater. Personally, I can’t get enough of cavolini al forno—I often add extra Porkitos and eggs so I can enjoy an entrée-sized portion of this dish.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons minced shallot
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 tablespoons melted ghee
Freshly ground black pepper
4 Porkitos (see below), crumbled
2 Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs (see below), peeled and pushed through a sieve
1. Make a batch of Porkitos (see below)
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle position. Then, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar. Seal tightly and shake well. (Yes, you can whisk ’em together in a bowl instead, but where’s the fun in that?)
3. Toss the Brussels sprouts with melted ghee, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the sprouts in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 35 minutes or until browned on the outside and tender on the inside, rotating the tray and flipping the spouts at the midpoint. (Now’s the perfect time to make the Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs. See recipe below.)
4. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Plate the sprouts, add a sprinkle of crumbled Porkitos, and garnish with the sieved eggs. Taste and adjust for seasoning, and serve immediately.
PORKITOS (PROSCIUTTO CHIPS)
Makes 2 servings
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
“Porkitos”—crunchy chips made of prosciutto—lend a wonderfully salty crunch to creamy soups, salads, and purées. Or you can just stuff your face with them. ’Cause really: Who doesn’t love crispy pork chips?
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the prosciutto in a single layer on the lined baking sheets. Don’t overcrowd the swine, or it won’t crisp properly.
2. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until crunchy. Watch your chips like a hawk to make sure they don’t burn. Porkitos will actually get crunchier as they cool, so err on the side of underbaking.
3. Transfer the chips to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy them as a salty snack or appetizer, or use them to dress up your salads. (But something tells me these chips’ll be long gone before you’ve had time to whip up a salad.)
PERFECT HARD-BOILED EGGS
Makes 12 eggs
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Chemically speaking, when hard-boiled eggs are overcooked, the sulfur and hydrogen in the egg white form hydrogen sulfide, which in turn reacts with the iron in the yolks to form ferrous sulfide—a.k.a. the ugly, smelly, gray-green rings encircling the yolks. Overdone eggs are often also impossible to peel, leaving you with unsightly pockmarked disasters. Sure, these may be mere cosmetic flaws, but they make your eggs less than appetizing.
In contrast, properly cooked hard-boiled eggs are odorless and perfectly peelable, with vibrant, cheery yolks. And let’s face it: to be a true kitchen ninja, you need to know how to consistently turn out perfectly formed hard-boiled eggs that everyone wants to pop in their mouths.
12 large eggs, preferably ones that are at least a week old
6 cups water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Using a pin or thumbtack, poke a hole on the wide bottom of each of the eggs.
2. Gently place the eggs in a wide saucepan in a single layer and add the water and baking soda. (The sodium bicarbonate will help the eggs separate from their shells, making them easier to peel.) Make sure the eggs are at least 1 inch below the surface.
3. Put the saucepan on the stove, and crank the heat to high. As soon as the water comes to a boil, set a timer for 1 minute. When the minute’s up, take the pot off the heat, cover with a lid, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to set a timer!
4. In the meantime, fill a large bowl with water and ice. Once the timer goes off, transfer the eggs to the ice water and submerge for 5 minutes.
5. Then, fish the eggs out of the icy water, gently rap them against a hard surface to crack the shells, and peel each egg starting from the bottom end (where you poked the pinhole). The shells should come right off, with no fuss or muss.
6. The result: perfectly cooked eggs, with no ugly gray-green rings around the yolks, no foul odor, and no telltale divots in the whites. If you aren’t eating the eggs right away, store them in the fridge in a sealed container. They’ll keep for up to a week.