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May 11, 2007 06:35 AM

Needed: First course w/ spring/baby veggies

For Mother's Day, I'm making crab cakes w/ ramp vinaigrette, decorating the plate w/ spring lettuces. So my usual green salad for first course is out.

I would like to make something utilizing some overpriced veggies from WF: fresh peas, purple asparagus, red carrots, etc. I have considered some sort of soup, w/ veggie garnish, or simply steaming, chilling and plating w/ a vinaigrette, but that seems to much like the main course. I have loads of chives (w/ flowers), thyme, mint, tarragon, parsley in the garden.

Any ideas? My Dad is a fairly traditional eater (not keen on cold soup, for example), so not too over the top, please. TIA.

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  1. how about a vegetable sushi roll -

    1 Reply
    1. re: howchow

      or, perhaps in the same vein, vietnamese spring rolls? you could cook and chill the veggies, mix them with your vinaigrette and just roll them up (but if you do this, make sure you have something uncooked in there like lettuce because they really need the crunch).

      it *looks* exotic but the rice paper has very little flavor so it could *taste* like your vinaigrette).

    2. I'd say this is a lovely time for a chopped vegetable salad. It won't overwhelm your crabcake entree. Since you have peas, I would cut the rest close to that size - thinly slice the (blanched) asparagus and the (raw) carrots and toss together. Make an herb vinaigrette from your fresh herbs, and toss. I'd do that about an hour in advance to make sure the flavors all meld together. At the last minute, toss in the chive flowers for color.

      I'd serve them in a small glass cup or bowl, so you can enjoy the color. A small serving would be enough.

      1. Wow - ramp vinaigrette sounds fantastic. I'd add a fresh pea or fava (or both) pureed soup - warm for Dad, with creme fraiche swirled in, and garnished with your minced herbs and chive flowers.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Junie D

          That's what I'm leasning toward. Can you think of some way to garnish it with more veggies...without it just being "plopped" in there? I'm thinking one small carrot, one stalk of asparagus, maybe a piece of colored baby cauliflower....I wonder if I could tie them together somehow w/ a piece of blanched chive...

          ...or maybe I should just marinate the veggies and serve the cold as hor d'oeurve?

          1. re: danna

            That would be beautiful. But, yes, my other suggestion was going to be a "composed" sort of salad with some combination of:

            baby artichokes
            asparagus tips
            snap peas
            fava beans
            pea shoots if you can get them
            (I'm going for all green here but tiny carrots, colorful cauliflower would be lovely too)

            Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, minced herbs (mint especially) and shaved Pecorino or Parmesan.

        2. Ideas that "spring" to mind:

          Soup in the Provencal style "au pistou"

          1. What about a layered "tart" with roasted beets and goat cheese, including some of your fresh herbs between the layers?