As spring produce floods in, we're excited to be cooking fresh, springy meals – and it's about time. Winter root vegetables are all well and good, but there's nothing like a tender bunch of ramps, a bundle of bright asparagus spears and a few loamy morels after months of sturdy carrots, potatoes, and apples.
To celebrate spring's bounty, we’ll be throwing plenty of parties full of light, fresh fare. Here are just a few ways to delight guests with the best of the season.
Make the most of treasured morels by sautéing them in butter with lemon juice, leeks, and herbs, and then topping homemade crostini with the warm morel mixture, along with some soft goat cheese. This is simple, fresh cooking at its best.
Unlike pie, with its revolving rainbow of seasonal flavors, gazpacho doesn't seem like a fill-in-the-blank situation. To most of us, it spells one thing: tomatoes, cold, smooth, and punchy. But in truth, anything can be a gazpacho. It's just not fair that we should have to wait till the tomatoes roll around -- and that's where the strawberries come in. See them shine in this savory soup.
The title pretty much says it all. This recipe takes an already promising set of ingredients and artfully combines them in such a way that the resulting dish exceeds the sum of its parts. Two-inch lengths of asparagus, crisp-tender to the bite, take center stage in a savory tangle of leeks, pancetta, garlic, orange zest, parsley, and pine nuts.
This eggy torte is all about the peas, which are pureed with ricotta and also left whole for texture. The unmistakable sweetness of the peas is discretely highlighted yet balanced with the addition of lemon zest, fresh mint, and earthy nutmeg.
Fresh herbs are an essential component of any spring feast. What better way to highlight them than whirled together in a vibrant chimichurri sauce? Spring’s darling, lamb, eagerly takes the sauce as a cloak after a quick turn on the grill.
On top is a silky and tangy blanket of rhubarb curd (made just like lemon curd) and beneath is a pad of spiced shortbread. Genius! We made the shortbread in the food processor and suggest that you do, too, if you have one handy. The curd takes some elbow grease -- think of it as your workout for the day. Once you have the two basic elements, all you do is fuse them with an icing spreader and finish with a few minutes in the oven.
What fresh produce will make its way into your springtime feasts? Share your comments below!