in the kitchen: the case of spring produce
or: what to do with all those green things you went crazy buying at the farmer's market.
If you're like me, you wait all year for that great moment when all the rutabegas and potatoes and other dark dry things start fading away at the farmer's market and are suddenly replaced by garlic, and onions, and pungent green things. It's a magical moment, and generally hits its peak in early May.
I should note this highlights a few favorite springtime vegetables here in New York. As we learned the hard way years ago when an enormous and spirited fight broke out among our friends: seasons change depending on where you are in the country. Obvious? Perhaps, but we’re all a bit passionate when it comes to rhubarb.
ramps: Oh the ramp. The only way to refer to them is with a sigh of irony… ohhh ramps, so overdone, so passe, so much fuss. But if you can get past the casual disdain, they’re awfully nice. You can use them anywhere you’d generally add spring onions, but I also to treat them like a full vegetable. Add bits to a kale salad for bite, throw long matchsticks into an omelette with mozzarella after sauteeing, eat raw on a baguette with good butter, the bulbs are amazing as an onion replacement in pastas, or just roast them full size for an easy side dish with fish.
asparagus: we always go a little crazy when asparagus season hits. If we can, we get the tiny baby stalks, so slender you can eat them raw. Toss them into a salad with fennel and good olive oil. Roast, and add a poached egg for the world’s easiest dinner, or make this shaved asparagus Smitten Kitchen pizza, one of my all-time favorite Deb recipes.
fiddlehead ferns: I had them for the first time at Diner over in Wiliamsburg, and couldn’t get over their fairytale shape. The easiest way to cook them is to soak them to remove any brown bits (looks like old crunch leaves), blanch and then saute them with olive oil and garlic, or roast them the way you would asparagus. I'll be honest - it's probably more work than they're worth, but the end result looks like something a toddler would love.