RECIPES

Spring Vegetable- The Best Delicious Spring Vegetables

Spring Vegetable Recipe-I love that feeling when I discover that first crocus busting up through the snow, a mound of daffodils, or even part of a robin’s egg on the sidewalk. It always takes me by surprise. While, at times, it feels like this winter will never end, even us Bostonians have gone from our heavy down coats to our light down coats, so we have to admit that we know the end is in sight.

Equally exciting to me is when I stumble upon that first morel mushroom, fresh pea tendrils, or some bright red stalks of rhubarb! Farms and restaurants start surprising us with little bits of these seasonal items, and even the most serious of skeptics finds him or herself daydreaming of all the delicious ways this can influence one’s culinary potentiality.

Keep your eyes peeled for signs of spring, darlings, and you are sure to see them everywhere. Pick up these items at your favorite market or farm stand, especially if they are new to you, and get ready to treat your friends + lovers to some serious deliciousness!

Here are some hand-picked stellar recipes featuring spring’s finest offerings. I have featured: Arugula, Asparagus, Fiddlehead Ferns, Morel Mushrooms, Fresh English Peas, Wild Ramps, Radishes, Rhubarb + Fresh Dandelion Greens. Give all of them a try.

Rock on, my darling gastronomes {and budding gastronomes}. Have no fear.

 

FRESH PEA CROSTINI- spring

Fresh peas are not the same as frozen, and you will see why when you create this dish from Pixels + Crumbs. Make sure to use the best quality olive oil that you have, and spring for the good Pecorino. I get mine at Salumeria Italiana is Boston’s North End. They are happy to let you sample a few cheeses, and are quite knowledgeable what will go well with anything you are making. In fact, make sure to also pick up some white truffle oil while you are there–it would be fantastic drizzled over many of the dishes featured in this post.

Serve on crostini, or on the off chance that you are gluten or without grain, evaluate some without gluten wafers, new red and yellow pepper strips, dried apple cuts, dried persimmon {currently at Trader Joe’s}, or these without grain saltines.

 

RHUBARB-STRAWBERRY JAM- spring

My grandmother always made rhubarb pie when I was little, and I never really understood it…but I do, now! Technically a vegetable, this fibrous plant is often posed as a sweet dish and can be substituted in, or added to, many fruit recipes such as jams, compotes, pies and tarts. You will need to add sugar or honey, though, it is pretty sour on it’s own.

In Chinese medicine, we use the root as a quite strong laxative–the stem is milder, but can be effective in the same way. Use that tip as you will, but make sure to try out some rhubarb this spring, regardless. One easy way to preserve the harvest is making Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam.

 

SHAVED ASPARAGUS SALAD

The only thing better than fresh asparagus in spring is shaved fresh asparagus in spring! It’s easier than you think, and obviously makes an impression–even if it’s just you. Check out this simple + delish recipe from Jessica at How Sweet {howsweeteats.com}

 

 

MOMOFUKU’S PICKLED RAMPS

 Momofuku. Oh David Chang. Oh Ramps. Where do I start? David Chang is one of my favorite rock star chefs. He’s tearing up the food scene, and having lots of fun while he’s at it. His restaurants are seriously elevating all styles of Asian cuisine + he is reviving the art of fermentation in such radical ways, I can barely get my head around it. In addition to several restaurants in NYC, Toronto + Sydney, and his magazine Lucky Peach, he also runs a mad scientist food research lab with other culinary edge-pushers + revolutionaries–as every chef should, but rarely gets the chance to. Watch for more and more from his abundant creativity hive. It’s on.

 

SPRING VEGETABLE-MORROCCAN CHICKEN SKEWERS WITH MINTED GOAT CHEESE YOGURT

 

Asparagus strikes again, but this time it’s bringing some artichoke hearts with it! Check out this lovely light dinner of Moroccan chicken, herbed vinaigrette + minted yogurt sauce from Half Baked Harvest.

ARUGULA SALAD WITH SKIRT STEAK +BLEU CHEESE

I love arugula–in salads, sautéed lightly with other vegetables, made into a pesto…there are a lot of great ways to use it. Technically, it’s available 365 days a year in the US, so it might not feel special anymore if you are a repeat offender. However, nothing beats those fluffy spring bundles of arugula, roots attached, with a little dirt on them, in all of their peppery goodness. Local + fresh arugula is a short-lived gift of spring that will make you completely forget about anything at the store that comes in a plastic box. Try out this combination from Smitten Kitchen with local, grass-fed skirt steak, bleu or goat cheese and cherry or pear tomatoes. Toasted pine nuts would be pretty good on it, too!

BABY PEA SHOOTS WITH GRILLED CALAMARI

Pea tendrils: who knew they were so delicious? Well, you are about to. I didn’t grow up eating these, but I can promise you that once you try them, you’ll want them again. You can find these most of the year in Asian markets + Chinese restaurants, but the real treat is finding the baby ones in the spring. The kind that you find year around are bigger, more fibrous, and require light cooking, but the baby ones you find in the spring are almost like sprouts. Douse a little in some olive oil + lemon juice and serve them with any risotto, grilled meats or seafood, as a salad, or lightly sautéed with other spring vegetables. Try out this idea from BLD restaurant in Toronto, reviewed by Shareba of In Search Of Yumminess

 

MOREL MUSHROOM FLAN

As if flan or morel mushrooms could be any more appealing, Stephanie Meyer has gone and put them together over at Fresh Tart. Fresh morel mushrooms may be my #1 favorite food in the whole world. Typically quite expensive, morels are most abundant in the spring, unless you live in the Pacific Northwest, where foragers seem to find them year around. Regardless of where you find them, or at what cost, I encourage all mushroom lovers to buy a minimum of a few handfuls and sauté them in butter + shallots, at the very least. Should you be so motivated to go back for more, this flan should be the next thing on your list. I would serve it with beef or scallops and some spinach, ramps or asparagus on the side. White truffle oil drizzled over the top would be…uh…over the top!

 

CHEESE GRITS WITH FIDDLEHEAD FERNS + RAMPS IN BROWN BUTTER

Dear ‘A Thought For Food‘, you had me at cheese grits! One thing this Southern girl is missing is a big ol’ plate of rich stone ground grits topped with something even more decadent. You would be surprised what Southerners can do with a grit! Turns out Northerners occasionally rock them, too. Brian Samuels’ creation sounds like the perfect thing for those first ‘teaser’ days of spring when we eschew our jacket for an hour or two, but might have to revert back to the down coat at night. Pairing ramps and fiddlehead ferns with a bowl of warming grits is just what the doctor ordered right about now. A piece of local Cod or Haddock would be pretty nice with this dish, too.

 

DANDELION GREENS WITH GRILLED LAMB LOIN CHOPS

 

I wonder how many times you have seen a big bundle of dandelion greens at the store and laughed to yourself at the irony? On the one hand, it IS hard to pay for something you probably spent most of your childhood trying to get rid of. On the other hand, bitter dandelion greens are one of the easiest + most economical foods for ‘spring cleaning’. After eating more heavy foods over the winter months and typically being more sedentary, dandelion greens naturally cleanse the liver of sluggish fats and oils, giving us a kick-start for reviving the lightness of spring that is yearning to bust through in all of us!

I’m also happy to report that while searching for recipes to use, I stumbled upon this beautiful recipe + blog that surprisingly belongs to me! I’m so proud to share it with all of you, and happy to truly be a part of such sweet creativity in action, which is the ultimate sign of spring, itself.

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