There are some really cool vegetables and fruits out there. They sit patiently waiting for you and your families. Welcome to the Spring Food Series. If all you knew of vegetables were lettuce, tomatoes and peppers, people who ate mostly vegetables would seem to have a boring lot in life.
Our Spring Food Series will bring interesting recipes that are easy to prepare. First, a little background and an introduction to some of the players.
I haven’t done a lot of cooking with fresh artichokes, but that’s to change. They can be steamed, baked, grilled and even put in your slow cooker. I’m looking forward to playing with them. Picking a great one isn’t hard. They should squeak in your hand and feel very heavy for it’s size. To keep them super duper for up to a week, store them in a plastic bag and sprinkle the choke with water!
This flowering perennial is located mostly in Europe and northern Africa. Asparagus has lots of antioxidants and is loaded with B vitamins! Cook your asparagus pretty quickly once it’s home, no more than 4 days.
This elusive plant is only available for about 3 weeks! They are on the pricey side, roughly about 5 bucks a pound (If you are on the West Coast expect to pay triple that. I’ve read fiddleheads go for $18 a lb in CA.) Worth the price and wait these bad boys taste like green beans and asparagus combined. *Fiddleheads MUST be cooked thoroughly or they might upset the stomach. Stay tuned for a fiddlehead recipe as soon as they’re available. Yum-my!!!
Fava beans will now live in infamy thanks to Sir Anthony Hopkins (along with a nice chianti) but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying them. This seasonal delight is a bit labor intensive, there’s a hard outer pod that must be removed. Fava beans have a creamy texture that pairs well with artichokes and olive oil. Try making some crostini and serving it with favas roasted in lemon and garlic. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Move fast, favas aren’t around for long.
All peas are best blanched or sauteed. Boiling them ruins the flavor as well as stripping nutrients. I love green peas lightly sauteed with onions and shrimp served on a bed of spring greens. Dress the greens with grapefruit juice, balsamic, olive oil salt and pepper and you have a refreshing dinner!!
Arugula (aka rocket)
Let me count the ways that I love you arugula. I love your nutty flavor fresh as a salad. I close my eyes and think of thee on a whole wheat pizza. Oh arugula you are never lovelier than when you are in a fritatta, except when you make lettuce a vegetable non-grata.
Mint, it’s not just for cocktails. Though, let’s keep it between us for a second- a cold cocktail topped with mint (alcohol or no) hits the s-p-o-t on a hot summer’s day. But we are in spring- let’s move on shall we? Mint and grapefruit salad- delish. I first ordered this from Fresh Direct. I must have been crazy because this can easily be made at home on the cheap. For a twist add fresh basil, cucumber and a smattering of feta.
Nettles are perfect for a pesto. Stinging nettle soup is probably the most popular recipe. I was at a loss for others and had to do a bit of research myself. The Kitchn (one of my favorite places to check for the latest food scoop) had 9 recipes! I’ll definitely be making the Spring Lasagna. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to keep you all in the loop!
People who love morels, LOVE morels. There are websites, facebook fans pages and books all dedicated to this coral looking fungus. They have several local names such as dryland fish, hickory chicken and merckles or miracles. Morel fanatics hunt them for the taste and the thrill of the chase. They can be fried but I suggest a saute pan with garlic. Cook morels thoroughly. These vixens can leave its eater feeling intoxicated if consumed with alcohol.
Many interesting things are revealed in spring!!!