Mario Batali’s Asparagus Milanese

Mario Batali’s Asparagus Milanese


Mario Batali made this recipe on The Chew.  You can easily make for one or more.  While there are many versions of this recipe out there, this one is utterly delicious and simple.  The runny yolk makes a sauce when it combines with the lemon and cheese.  Wow.


2 bunches asparagus, trimmed

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive-oil, divided

5 large eggs

2 Tablespoons butter

Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Juice of 2 lemons (Meyer Lemons are especilly good.)

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a grill pan to a medium-high heat.

Toss the trimmed asparagus in 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Grill for about 3 minutes per side, the asparagus should be bright green and charred in spots.  (Alternately, you can roast the asparagus in a 400 degree oven.)

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the butter and gently fry the eggs until just set, about 2-4 minutes.  (The key is cook the egg very slowly—no frizzled edges.)

Divide the asparagus among the plates and top each with an egg.  Shave Parmigiano-Reggiano on each serving.  Grate the zest over the plates and squeeze lemon juice over the each serving.  Season with salt coarsely ground pepper.


 Mario Batali's Asparagus Milanese


Susan Spicer’s Duck “PBJ” with Cashew Butter, Pepper Jelly, and Apple-Celery Salad

Susan Spicer is one of my favorite chefs.  Her French Quarter restaurant, Bayona, has special meaning for my husband and me.  We went to dinner there, the night we got engaged.  We have had many wonderful meals there and always try to go whenever we are in New Orleans.  I was so glad when her cookbook, Crescent City Cooking was published and we can now enjoy some of our favorite dishes at home. 

This is a wonderful sandwich! There are various components to prepare but it is worth the effort.


Cashew Butter


1 Cup chopped cashews

½ cup chopped peanuts

3 Tablespoons honey

1 Tablespoon molasses

Kosher Salt

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) softened butter


Roast the cashews and peanuts for about 7 minutes at 350 degrees; cool completely.  In a food processor, puree the nuts, honey, molasses, and a pinch of salt.  Then add the softened butter and puree.  Add a splash of warm water, if necessary, to thin the mixture to a spreadable, creamy texture.  Keep in mind that cashew butter will be soft while it is warm and will stiffen up as it chills.  It should be at room temperature when spreading it on the sandwiches.


Grilled Red Onions (I omitted these and the sandwich is still great.)


1 large or 2 small red onions, sliced in ¼” thick rings. 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt & Pepper


Toss the onions with olive oil, and a little salt & pepper.  Grill, broil, or roast for about 5 minutes, until wilted.


Apple-Celery Salad


1 Granny Smith apple

2 celery heart ribs

1 shallot, minced

1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon walnut oil, optional OR 2 Tablespoons olive oil.

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar



Peel, core, and thinly slice the apple.  Slice the celery hearts thinly on the diagonal.  In a medium bowl, toss the apple and celery with the shallot, olive oil, vinegar, and salt to taste.  This salad is best made right before assembling the sandwiches.



The recipe calls for smoked duck that you can mail order from

However, we made this with sautéed duck breast. 

Mary’s is a good brand that can be found at Whole Foods. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Buy boneless duck breast with the skin on. Score the skin side in cross hatch pattern.  Season with kosher salt and pepper. 

In a large oven-proof sauté pan, heat olive oil or canola oil over medium heat. Sauté the duck breasts, skin side down, until the fat has rendered and the skin is dark golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Turn the duck breasts skin side up and roast in the oven until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. 


To assemble the sandwiches:

2 teaspoons, softened butter

8 slices multi-grain bread

¾ cup cashew butter, at room temperature

¾ cup hot pepper jelly (My favorite brand is the “Zippy Jalapeño” by Jackie’s Jams, which I’ve found at Whole Foods.)

Apple-Celery Salad

Grilled Red Onions


Spread softened butter on both sides of each slice of bread.  Toast bread to your preference.  Spread 4 slices of bread with cashew butter and the remaining 4 with pepper jelly.  Warm the duck meat (and onions if using) in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  Divide the meat and onions on the 4 sandwiches.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a layer of Apple-Celery salad.  Close, cut, and enjoy!






Minted Pea Dip

I know it has been FOREVER since we have posted to our blog.  This recipe inspired me to post.  I found it on a great blog my sister-in-law told me about called

This recipe is so easy and so delicious and to top it all off–good for you too!

2 Cups frozen peas (defrosted)

Zest of one lemon

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, chopped (if you add this to the food process first, you can avoid having to chop it.)

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons tahini

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1.  With the food processor running, add the garlic clove until finely chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and puree.

2. Serve with crostini and/or raw crudites.  If you assemble the dip on crostini, you can also shave pecorino or parmesan on top of each hors d’oeuvre or sprinkle grated cheese on top and drizzle a good olive oil over all of them.



Minted Pea Dip