Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




Filtering by Tag: Asparagus

A Better Chicken Dinner Part 2: Organic Chicken Breast, Celery Root Puree, Spring Vegetables, & Pickled Radish

Prep time:  30 mins.   Cook time:  30 mins.   Serves:  2

The carrots and asparagus are intentionally given minimal attention here , in order to bring out their freshness and true flavor.  Simply seasoning with salt and pepper and roasting will bring out natural sugars and give a clean, fresh palate to work with.  

Celery root is exactly what it sounds like, the tuber that celery stalks grow from.  It has the vegetative taste of celery with the earthiness of a russet potato.  Simmered until very tender and then pureed with buttermilk and butter gives it a mashed potato like texture while retaining most of the original flavor.  


  • 1 whole split chicken breast
  • 1 whole celery root; peeled and cubed
  • 1 large leek; sliced
  • 4 whole carrots; peeled
  • ½ lb asparagus
  • 1 radish; sliced very thin
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 3 tbsp butter; divided
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil; divided
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley; chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small saucepan, add vinegar, tbsp salt, sugar, and celery seed.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.   When vinegar mix is hot, pour over sliced radish.  Set aside and allow radish to pickle while you prepare the rest of your components.

Place a sauce pan over medium  and add cubed celery root and water.  Simmer celery root until very tender.  Strain celery root and add to a food processor.  Puree celery root, adding in 1 tbsp butter and buttermilk, until very smooth.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place a saute pan over medium heat with remaining butter.  Add leeks and season well with salt.  Allow the leeks to gradually cook down and become tender, occasionally stirring and adding a tbsp of water to make a light sauce.  

While the leeks are cooking, place a large skillet or saute pan over high heat with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.  When the pan is very hot, place your chicken breast skin side down in the pan.  Immediately place the pan in the oven and roast chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160, about 15 minutes.  Flip the chicken over about halfway through the cooking time to ensure it cooks evenly.  

Meanwhile, add remaining vegetable oil to a saute pan and add carrots, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Place the pan in the oven and allow the carrots to roast until fork tender, about 10 mins.  Halfway through the cook time, add in the asparagus and roast both vegetables together.  Slice carrots in half to plate once they are finished.  


Asparagus Galette, with Bacon & Spring Onions

Prep time:  30 minutes    Cook Time:  30 minutes    Serves:  2-3

Perfect as an appetizer, a galette is a cross between a pie and a flat bread pizza.  Even though this recipe is easy to make, it can become even easier if you use a store bought pie crust.  Of course to some, combing the words “store bought” and “pie crust”  is a mortal sin.  Accordingly, I have included a recipe for a fool proof homemade pie crust as well.  To add another layer of indulgence and make your galette the perfect addition to your next brunch, add a fried egg or two on top.

Spring onions, or ramps, smell like garlic with a mild onion flavor.  If you are lucky enough, you can find them growing wild on a grassy hill in your yard.  Otherwise most local farmer’s markets will carry the sought after seasonal ingredient this time of year.  The leaves and the bulb are both edible, with the leaves being great tossed in a salad.  

The asparagus should be raw, peeled, then cut in half lengthwise before cutting again into thirds.  Be liberal with your toppings, especially the cheese. As a glaze, some people like to use egg wash on their pie crusts.  While this is a perfectly acceptable technique, I prefer brushing on some melted butter to give a deep golden color and add flavor.  Brush some butter on the edges right before you place the galette in the oven and then once again upon removing.  


Pie crust

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter; cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 6 tbsp (approx.) ice water


  • 1 cup asparagus; sliced in half and chopped into 3rds
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • ½ cup shaved manchego
  • 1 shallot; finely sliced
  • ⅓ cup cooked bacon; chopped
  • ⅓ cup ramps; greens removed, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


For the pie crust add the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Add in the butter then pulse until a coarse meal forms. Gradually, blend in enough ice water so that moist clumps form. Gather  the dough into a  ball and divide it in half. Form the dough into two balls then flatten each into disks.  Wrap each disk in plastic and let chill for two hours at least.  If you are doing this ahead, the dough will hold for two days.

Preheat your oven to 400°.  Add  the bacon to a cold saute pan or baking tray and place in oven.  Cook the bacon until fully rendered, about 15 minutes, then place on a paper towel or wire rack to cool.  Coarsely chop your bacon and then set aside.

To assemble the galette, roll out your dough onto a well floured surface.   Form a circle about 12” and trim the edges.  Layer on your cheese then the asparagus, shallots, ramps, and bacon, leaving a one inch border.  Fold over the edge of the dough to form pleats.  Brush the edges of the galette with butter and drizzle the olive oil over the toppings.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and then place in the oven.  Bake 20-30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and asparagus is tender.  Remove the galette and brush the crust with the remaining melted butter.  Let cool five to ten minutes before cutting.       

Mushroom Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms & Asparagus Tips

Prep Time:  1 hour    Cook Time:  40 min    Serves:  4

Risotto is an amazing dish.  Like all great food, properly preparing risotto requires attention and love.  You can't just walk away from risotto and come back to it later, you need to be there to develop texture and flavor.  Similarly, the mushrooms and asparagus in this recipe are given their own special treatment before bringing everything together, but this also pays off in texture and flavor.  

I only used the tops of the asparagus and sauteed them quickly over medium high heat.  Roasting the mushrooms in the oven first will help to remove excess water, so that when they are finished by sauteing in butter they crisp up and sear instead of just steaming.  Don't add the mushrooms and asparagus until the risotto is finished cooking and you have already added the cheese and butter.  If it becomes too tight, add a little more stock to develop more of a sauce.  Finish with fresh chives and shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of olive or truffle oil.

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  • 2/3 cup Arborio rice (or similar risotto rice)
  • 3 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup asparagus tips
  • 12 oz shiitake mushrooms (or hen or the woods, Porcini, oyster, morels, etc...)
  • 2 oz fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tbsp butter (divided)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil or truffle oil for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wipe the mushrooms down with a damp cloth to remove any  lose dirt.  Toss the mushrooms with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl to coat.  Spread mushrooms out on a lined sheet pan and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove once done and set aside to dry.

Slice the tops off 1 pound of asparagus to yield approximately 1 cup.  Make sure to cut the tips into appropriate sized pieces, about 1/2".  Heat  2 tbsp butter in a medium saute pan over medium high heat and add the asparagus.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss, cooking until just tender then set aside.

Return to your mushrooms.  Heat 2 tbsp butter in a medium saute pan  over medium high heat and add your mushrooms, tossing and cooking until browned.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Chop into 1/4" slices. 

Prepare shallots and garlic and heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic, cooking until the shallots become translucent and the garlic becomes aromatic.  Add the risotto rice to the pan and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.  Pour in the wine and continue stirring, letting the wine evaporate completely.  Once the wine has evaporated, begin to ladle in the chicken stock.  Continue stirring constantly as the stock evaporates and you continue to add more one ladle at a time.  It is important to stir the rice as this constant motion is what develops the starches that creates the creaminess in risotto.  Continue stirring and adding stock until the rice reaches an al dente texture (tender but still slightly firm to the bite).  Add in the cheese and finish with butter and the chopped chives.  Toss in asparagus and mushrooms, adding more stock if the rice becomes too tight and needs more sauce.  Plate and garnish with a drizzle of olive or truffle oil.

New England Surf & Turf: Filet Medallion, Sweet Corn Succotash, & Lobster Tail with Cherry Tomatoes

Prep Time: 45 min    Cook Time:    20 min    Serves:  2

The sweetness of the lobster tail and cherry tomatoes compliments and balances the savory intensity of a perfectly grilled steak.  To ensure a good sear and crust on the steak, season liberally with salt and pepper and let it sit at room temperature for a half hour before grilling.  Depending of your desired temperature (I would suggest a medium-rare or medium, any additional cooking will degrade the texture of the steak, which is really what you're paying for in a filet),  set your grill to high or medium-high and baste the steak with melted butter.  This will cause the grill to flare and make a bit of a mess, but the quality of the sear you get from this technique is second to none.  Pull the steak off the heat 10-8 degrees before it reaches desired temperature and let it rest for 10 mins before eating.  

Lobster is cooked quickly to avoid a rubbery texture.  Saute over medium-high heat in butter with  the cherry tomatoes.  Add white wine and lemon juice to heighten flavor, finish with fresh herbs/ For the vegetables as well, hot and fast is the preferred cooking method.  Heat vegetable oil in a saute pan over high heat and add all the vegetables at once.  Once they begin to pick up color, add some vegetable stock to the pan and toss in a small pat of butter. The evaporating stock and butter should emulsify with a couple quick tosses of the pan. Finish with fresh chopped parsley.  



  • 1 ear yellow sweet corn, cut off the cob
  • 6 large asparagus spears, cut into 1/8 in pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/4 vegetable stock
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 2 oz fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 lobster tails, removed from shells and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1/2 oz fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 oz fresh chopped chives
  • 1/2 oz fresh chopped basil
  • 1/2 oz fresh chopped English thyme


  • 3 tbs butter, melted
  • liberal salt and pepper



Preheat grill. Remove steak from fridge and season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper.  Allow the steak to sit out at room temperature as you prepare the rest of your ingredients.  Prepare the vegetables for the succotash. Make sure all cuts are consistent to  ensure even cooking.  Set aside.

Remove lobster meal from shells by piercing the underside of the tail with the tip of your knife and bisecting the tail lengthwise.  Remove meat and chop. Set aside.  Quarter cherry tomatoes then dice the shallot finely, setting both aside once done.

Once the ingredients for the succotash and lobster have been prepared, melt the butter for the steak.  Baste the steak and place on the grill, being mindful of any flares that jump up.  Cook 4-5 mins on each side for med-rare, adding an additional minute for medium, 2-3 for med-well, basting the other side before flipping over.  Remove the steak 8-10 degrees before desired temperature is reached to ensure it doesn't overcook (120 for medium rare, 130 for medium, 140 for med well, 150 for well done). Let the steak rest while you finish the veg and lobster.  

Heat 2 tbs vegetable oil in a large saute pan over med high heat.  Add the garlic and shallots, stirring often,and then add the corn, peppers, and asparagus.  Once the vegetables have begun to pick up some color (1-2 min) add the stock and butter, tossing as the stock evaporates to help the butter emulsify and form a light sauce.  Season and add fresh herbs. 

Plate the succotash in the middle of the plate and set steak on top.  Reserve pan used for vegetable to finish the lobster.  Return pan  to med high head and add 3 tbs butter.  Once butter is melted, add the shallots, cooking for 1-2 mins until tender.  Next, add the tomatoes and lobster, stirring frequently.  Add the wine, butter, and herbs, stirring until  the wine evaporates and creates a slightly thickened sauce. Finish with lemon juice and pinch of salt. Serve over steak