What are your favorite Spring dishes?
Here are two of mine. The first involves a good deal of chopping, but it is a beautiful presentation and jjust sings of spring and/or summer.
4 zucchini / italian squash, diced
4 yellow squash, diced
6 tomatoes, seeded, pulp removed, diced
3 large red peppers, seeded, diced
2 bunches of green onions, chopped
4 T chopped / minced garlic
red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
2 T tomato paste
1 1/3 cups chicken stock
fresh basil, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
Toss together diced vegetables and garlic, red pepper flakes and salt/pepper in non-metallic bowl. (Vegetables can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Cut 6 pieces of foil into 1-foot squares and spray each with non-stick spray. Evenly divide vegetable mixture and mound in the center of each square.
Combine wine, tomato paste and chicken stock in a bowl and whisk well to blend. Pour 1/3 cup of mixture over each mound of vegetables. Pull edges of foil up and twist shut. (Vegetable packages can be prepared 1 to 2 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Place vegetables packages on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until vegetables are just tender, 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil pasta. Drain well. Toss pasta with a little olive oil or butter and Fresh Parmesan or Pecorino romano cheese.
To serve, divide pasta among pasta bowls. (Up to six. If serving fewer people, each person can get more vegetables.) Open each foil package and pour vegetables and juices over each pasta serving. Sprinkle each portion with basil, more red pepper flakes and more cheese. Serve immediately.
(You can use a variety of vegetables if you like.)
SPRING VEGETABLE RAGOUT
2 onions, peeled
6 T olive-oil
3 heads garlic, sliced thin
2 9 oz pkgs. frozen sliced artichoke hearts, thawed (or fresh hearts)
3 tomatoes, cored, chopped (you can rinse them a bit to get rid of the seeds if desired)
2 carrots, sliced, or 10/15 small young carrots
1 pkg frozen peas, rinsed
1 bottle white wine
1 cup chicken broth (optional)
20 fresh asparagus, sliced into 1 inch pieces
fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, tarragon, chopped
- Slice onions in half lengthwise. Place each half down and slice crosswise into very thin slices
- In large unheated skillet, combine onions, oil, garlic, herbs, and toss to coat with oil. Sweat over low heat, covered, until onions are soft, at least 15 minutes. Add artichoke hearts, tomatoes, carrots, and wine. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes to burn off alcohol.
- Add stock and simmer 10 more minutes.
- Add peas and asparagus tips. Cook a few minutes more.
- Serve in wide bowls, with lots of crust bread and dollops of pesto on top.
Springtime to me is for lighter types of food. I love this one dish i always make that is grilled salmon marinated wtih lemon juice and old world seasoning. I top it with a mixture of small sliced tomatoes, avocado and scallions that have been sitting and marinated with extra virgin olive oil and balsalmic dressing, It is wonderful. I usually add a side of steamed asparagus.
I went to the farmer's market this past Sat. and made a few early spring dishes.
Soup of green garlic, leeks, potato and sorrel...all simmered together and then pureed, garnished w/ chives.
Steamed asparagus w/ dill, dijon mustard and lemon juice.
I got some baby artichokes that I need to use. Can't wait for fava beans and peas...
The very first chives from the garden snipped over buttered potatoes, with a little cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
The very first mint, in tea or snipped into peas.
Mid to late spring:
Rhubarb - made into a sauce for roast pork, or in a cobbler or crisp
baby bok choy steamed and drizzled with sesame oil
On a slightly different note - though I love all the suggestions so far - I also find myself switching from mostly meat to mostly seafood/fish at this time of year. Winter is all about roasts and braises and warming stick-to-your-rib-edness. Right about now I start to crave things that are lighter and fresher: shrimp dressed with chipotle and lime, a big bowl of mussels in white wine, roasted fish over wilted greens.
That creamed potatoes and peas thing, yeah, me too, with either salmon or my mom's molded tuna salad - it's the traditional New England 4th of July supper, but back in Illinois the peas and potatoes came in a good bit earlier. Odd this should come up, but that's what I'm making tonight, though with cut-up White Rose potatoes, and frozen baby peas and salmon from Trader Joe's. It's still gonna taste like spring.
Too many to choose, but this is a start.
Fresh peas salad with lemon juice dressing and shaved parmesan
Grilled asparagus with a poached egg on top
Braised or sautéed radishes
Fiddleheads salad with a fruity vinaigrette or sesame-ginger dressing
Raw artichoke salad (shaved baby artichokes with vinaigrette)
Ramps are a wild onion rather like leeks but stronger found in the Blue Ridge/Applachian/Smoky mountains. You might honor this seasonal wild food by simply grilling or braising them. They can be substituted for leeks in other recipes. There are some great leek suggestions on the Home Cooking board.
Ramps are onion/leek-type deals that grow in the South East. I remembered that Saveur had a piece on them some time ago, went to their website, searched for "ramps" and found it. They had a recipe for ramp bulbs and leaves sauteed in bacon fat and then topped with crumbled bacon. Sounded great.
anything fava beany
asparagus steamed 2/3 way, then removed to cool. take 2 c of the cooking water, reduce slightly. add salt/pepper, mustard powder, lemon juice, butter. add asparagus back in & cook in liquid the rest of the way. if a more saucy sauce is desired, use a smidge of cornstarch slurry.
The ultimate spring salad, which contains:
baby artichokes (raw, sliced paper thin)
fennel (also sliced paper thin)
Blanch then refresh the asparagus, peas, and favas (peel favas).
Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Top each plate with shaved Parmesan and chives.
Anything on the grill/smoker now that it isnt below freezing, and the equiptment isnt covered with snow.
Last weekend, I smoked some of the best baby back ribs I have ever made, or eaten.
Spring grilling for me is the tune up for a long summer of grilling/smoking alot of meat on the grill/smoker