Asparagus and rhubarb are popping up all over. I had never thought of bringing them together before, but one night when I was in a hurry, I decided to put these in the oven together and came up with this combination. After all, there’s nothing much easier than a sheet pan meal.

Adding balsamic vinegar, sherry, or a sweet dessert wine, to a few tablespoons of maple syrup gives the rhubarb a sophisticated flair. If some of that tastiness wends its way to the other ingredients; it just makes the other ingredients all the more delicious – you may even want to drizzle syrup on everything in the pan on purpose.

For dessert, I decided to share this homemade ice cream craze that’s sweeping into kitchens everywhere via Instagram. Yes, Sheet Pan Ice Cream is a thing. All the how-to’s on the internet (such as here at https://tasty.co/recipe/diy-rolled-ice-cream) make it look easy, but there are tricks to making this frozen treat.

For instance, anything stirred into the ice cream base need to be pureed or grated into teeny-tiny pieces. Pureed fruit, finely grated chocolate, cookie crumbs, and swirls of jam work well, but to be honest, the ice cream behaves best when it doesn’t have added chunky things. You can sprinkle those toppings on once the ice cream is rolled and in serving dishes.

Another important consideration before you even start this endeavor is to be sure you have level space in your freezer for a large sheet pan. If you don’t, you can use an array of smaller pans. I only want to stress that the ice cream base has to be thin to roll successfully. Because of that thinness, you also have to move quickly when you’re ready to serve it. No lollygagging. Chill the spatula and serving dishes ahead of time and have your toppings ready.

If the ice cream doesn’t form into graceful little rolls that look oh-so-cute, don’t panic. As Julia Child liked to say, “No excuses; no apologies.” Get out your ice cream scoop or even your little melon baller and use it like a boss.

No matter what it looks like, this dessert is over-the-top delicious, doesn’t require any special equipment, and costs just a few bucks to make for four people.

Can you imagine the possibilities? So far I’ve made strawberry with fresh berries on top, coffee served with chocolate syrup, and mint dusted with crushed Thin Mints. Making a flavor of the day could become part of your morning routine, like brushing your teeth or letting out the cat. I’m telling you, this frozen treat is going to save your summer.

Roasted Salmon with Summery Sides

4 (4-6 oz.) wild salmon filets

3 shallots, sliced length-wise

2 cups rhubarb, cut 1 inch thick and 3 inches long

1 lb. asparagus, cut 3 inches long

2 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. thyme

3 tbsp. fine bread crumbs

3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, shaved

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place vegetables and rhubarb on a large shallow baking pan at each corner. Add olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and thyme; stirring to coat. Sprinkle a light coating of bread crumbs over asparagus. Add maple syrup and balsamic vinegar to rhubarb. Stir. Place salmon filets in middle of pan. Season and brush with a bit of olive oil and maple syrup.

Bake for 15 minutes or until salmon flakes with a fork and other ingredients are tender. Sprinkle cheese over asparagus and remove from oven once cheese is melted. Yield: 4 servings

Sheet Pan Ice Cream

1 pint heavy cream

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch salt

Flavorings and toppings

Combine heavy cream, condensed milk, vanilla, and salt in a bowl with a whisk or mixer. You can also use a blender. Whisk in flavorings. Pour mixture into a sheet pan so that it barely covers the bottom, no more than 1/4 -inch thick.

Freeze at least 4 hours. After the ice cream is frozen solid, remove from the freezer and working quickly, place a metal spatula at a 45° angle against the short edge of the pan, pushing ice cream forward into a roll, using a butter knife to assist. If the ice cream needs a little help forming, use a butter knife to push the sheet of cream into the roll.

Place ice cream in chilled bowls and add toppings, if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected].

This light, healthy meal is ready for the oven in minutes. And yes, you’ll have room for ice cream.


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