by The Culinistas
It’s almost Spring, meaning we’re revving up for farmers markets exploding with greenery. Don’t forget: “What grows together, goes together” Since we’ve got produce on the brain; keep an eye out for these items at the market and on our menus in the coming months.
Onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, and chives all fall into this category. Break out the grill pan for your scallions to get a nice char before serving alongside meat and fish, or blend them into a chutney with raisins for sweetness and plenty of good olive oil.
Peas, and pea shoots, are one of our favorite springtime ingredients. We love blending peas into pestos and dips, pairing them with similarly shaped couscous (see our Couscous and Clover in pic above) and including them in spicy arugula salads for a burst of sweetness. Snacking on fresh whole peas is a farmers market must, and we love the curly cue tendrils for styling and textural amplification.
While available all year round, we wait until spring to get our hands on the freshest asparagus. Roast, saute, or leave the spears raw and shave them reeeeeal thin. The earthy flavor pairs well with lemon, parmesan, potato, and of course creamy hollandaise.
Don’t be intimidated by the humble artichoke! Follow these instructions for paring and trimming. Preparation methods vary, but we love an artichoke gently steamed with aioli on the side for dipping.
Crisp easter egg radishes are one of our favorite farmers market sights. Radish makes a great crudite, slaw base, or roasted veg option. When purchasing, look for brightly colored crisp leaves, and use those as a salad base.
What to Explore
Favas take a bit of elbow grease to prepare. They grow in long pods and require tedious (read: meditative!) shucking. However, the task is worth the reward: a buttery nutty bean that’s great blended and raw.
The morel of the story is that springtime mushrooms are delicious. Morels are the pinecones of mushrooms with lots of curves and edges for a creamy sauces to get lost in. Which is why you’ll find them in pastas and risottos. The high price tag is due to the scarcity and labor that goes into foraging, but the flavor is most definitely worth it.
Fiddleheads are fern fronds, and an alliterative miracle. They taste a little like asparagus and can be treated simply. Try them sauteed with plenty of lemon juice and good olive oil or create a mandala atop a pizza.
Incredibly rich in nutrients, you probably recognize dandelion greens from your markets spring mix. Try them sauteed, the Greek way. Or, match the bitterness with wild rice and tart dried cherries.
A special thanks to Sylvie Rosokoff for the beautiful photograph.