I love spring. Not for the flowers, blooming trees and longer days....those that certainly helps shake the winter blahs. I love spring for the new hope of produce to come.
Here in New England, the growing season is not as long as we would like, and the fall vegetables, well....they are getting old. Spring offers strawberries, fiddleheads and asparagus. We will soon see more locally grown greens, beans, and as summer ramps up, well ramps, but tomatoes, corn, beans, blueberries and a wealth of other wonderful fruits and veggies.
Asparagus are great simply steamed, sauteed or even grilled. We can make soup, appetizers of proscuitto wrapped asparagus or breakfast asparagus frittata.
Fiddleheads, the furled fronds of a young fern, are delicious and have a similiar taste to asparagus. You can steam, boil or sautee fiddleheads before eating for easy preparation. A truly spring gnocchi uses morels and fiddleheads for flavor. Another option is to make pickles! Well pickled fiddleheads to be more precise.
Strawberries are wonderful just as is, in shortcakes, pies, jams and in cereal. But here is an idea for a wonderful spring salad - you can add salmon, shrimp or a nice feta cheese to this salad for added protein. Add strawberries to a lemon muffin recipe for breakfast for a fresh take on your morning. Or try a gazpacho for that early season dinner party.
Peas are also on the menu for spring. Paired with mint, as a fresh pea soup (nothing like the olive green cousin) and sauteed with fresh spring onions or cippolinis is divine. Like heat? Try this pea jalepeno puree for size! Peas are really versatile, pairing with fresh herbs, other vegetables, risottos, or with pork and smokey flavors, like this salad.
Enjoy the spring, eat well and get ready for all the good produce to come!