Even though our weather has been a bit thrown off this year, there are still a few classic fruits and vegetables whose arrival in supermarkets ushers in the spring season. Local, seasonal produce requires little help to showcase its flavors, so treat these items simply and enjoy their bright, springy flavors.
1. Ramps – These have taken the culinary world by storm this year, they seem to be everywhere! They taste like a cross between onions, leeks, scallions, and garlic, and are beautiful simply roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper, or thrown on the grill to char a bit, then flavored with a bit of lemon and olive oil.
2. Fingerling Potatoes – These miniature potatoes are the perfect size to roast up in the oven until crispy, then just bust them open and drizzle with olive oil and some Maldon sea salt. They pair beautifully with dill (another spring item), and some gravlax or smoked salmon and a spritz of lemon.
3. Artichokes – In the winter these are most often stuffed and roasted with a heavy hearty mix of breadcrumbs and butter, but in the springtime when they’re fresh, I think they’re best enjoyed flash boiled, then served with bowls of drawn butter and garlicy lemony aioli to dip the leaves and choke into.
4. Peas – Though you can find them frozen all year long, their farm-fresh counterpoints are infinitely better. Cook them for the barest minute in boiling salted water, then smash them up with butter and a sprinkling of chopped mint (also arriving this spring) for a delicious side dish, or bash them up with garlic and olive oil and spread them on toasted baguette for party-perfect crostini.
5. Asparagus – These come much more tender and slender in the springtime, and only need a little time in a hot oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper to roast up perfectly. Top with a generous shaving of Parmigianino Reggiano cheese and some crisped up garlic shards and you’ll have a perfect spring side dish.