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How To Make The Most Of Spring Produce

by HexClad Cookware

How To Make The Most Of Spring Produce

After a long winter, there’s nothing quite like the bright colours of spring produce dotting the market stands. Jewel-toned radishes nestle up alongside bundles of asparagus and the season’s first bright red strawberries peak out begging to be enjoyed. After the dull hues of cellared potatoes and piles of onions, the colors seem like a beacon of hope: Good weather is on the way. Fresh spring produce is delicious and relatively easy to cook because it’s so tender. That being said, it can go bad pretty quickly, too. That’s why you want to have a plan for what you’re going to cook and how. Read on for ideas for making the most of your spring produce.       

The timing of spring and availability of produce will depend on where you live. Keep an eye on your local market stands if you’re waiting for something in particular.

Artichokes 

Of course, you could buy jarred marinated artichoke hearts, but there’s something particularly delightful about contending with these spiky beauties when fresh. Small artichokes are delicious braised or fried, Italian-style (we like this recipe for Roman-Jewish Fried Artichokes from Serious Eats). Or, steam artichokes whole and pluck the leaves off to dip in hollandaise or melted butter. Never steamed an artichoke before? It’s surprisingly easy. You’ll want a pair of kitchen shears on hand, but the process is straightforward. Martha Stewart’s directions for steaming an artichoke are helpful for first-timers. 

Asparagus

Though you can get asparagus year-round, there’s something different about the stalks that appear in peak season, not least because they often come in a gorgeous purple hue. They’re crisper, snappier, and have more flavor. This is the time of year to enjoy raw asparagus salad, either made with shaved asparagus (use a Y-shaped peeler to get the long, thin strip), or simply sliced thin on the bias. Food & Wine’s recipe for Shaved Raw Asparagus with Parmesan Dressing is a good place to start.

Of course, asparagus is delightful cooked, too. For a simple dinner, pair asparagus with salmon (like in our One Skillet Garlic-Butter Salmon and Asparagus recipe). Roast it and toss with pasta, broil the stalks then add to a frittata, or chop and saute before pairing with goat cheese in an easy quiche. If you’re ready to head out to the grill, add asparagus to your 30cm Hybrid BBQ Grill Pan to keep the spears from falling through the grates.

Fava beans and peas

The sight of nubby green pods at the market stall is a sign something delicious is to come. Shell fava beans and serve with lamb chops or purée them with pesto and toss with pasta. If you spot sweet peas, grab some to serve alongside your favorite fish or to fold into an omlette. Though you could use spring peas to make soup, you’d probably be better off opting for a bag of frozen petite peas, which will save you a lot of work.

Watercress and spinach

Spring is the best time to grab handfuls of these nutrient-dense greens. Peppery watercress is divine served alongside a hearty spring roast (lamb, pork, chicken—it all works) or blitzed into a verdant soup. Of course, watercress is dreamy in fresh salads and spring spinach is excellent quickly sautéed to serve alongside fish or to add to smoothies.

Strawberries and rhubarb

Though these two pink pretties are very different plants—one is a berry and the other a stalk that’s related to buckwheat—they’re dreamy served together. Pair first-of-the-season strawberries with a rhubarb compote and sweetened mascarpone for an easy dessert, or set about a project and make a strawberry rhubarb pie. Of course, they’re delicious served on their own, too. Try Delish’s recipe for Strawberry Shortcake  or Bon Appetit’s recipe for Rhubarb Custard Cake.

 P.S. Given that it’s spring, why not consider giving your kitchen a spring cleaning? Start by resetting your pantry, which could probably use a refresh after the winter months.

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