After a long winter filled with potatoes, squashes, and root vegetables, the time has come to make the swap for spring. Greens are the theme of the season, with asparagus, artichokes, and arugula overflowing from farmers markets and grocery stands. Here are a few of the top vegetables to work into your meals this month.
These scrumptious stalks might be available in the grocery store throughout the year, but they shine the most in spring. Roast them in the oven for the perfect crisp or throw them into a frittata for a light lunch or dinner.
Try: Asparagus with Shiitake Mushrooms, Pasta, and Spring Peas
The flowers of the vegetable world get their due praise this season, working their way into everything from pasta to soup. Artichokes in their purest form, cooked simply and dipped leaf by leaf in olive oil and vinegar, are appetizer stars.
Arugula may be one of the more divisive vegetables on the list, but it is well worth another shot this year. The secret is in the pairings. Throw it into a salad with savory prosciutto or steak strips for an easy dinner or blend it with garlic to create a spicy pesto that turns addictive when blended with al dente pasta and freshly grated Parmesan.
Try: Garlic Mustard Greens Pesto
One of the rare vegetables of spring, fiddleheads are a “get ‘em while they’re hot” type of deal. If you can find them at your local grocer or farmers market, toss them in your shopping cart. You can almost guarantee they will be gone the next week. To cook, follow the lines of broccoli or asparagus preparation. Boil them until soft and then sauté with butter and garlic.
Let go of any childhood aversions to the snappy vegetable and give peas another chance this season. With very little effort, these green gems flavor a variety of meals. Throw them in with pasta and sun-dried tomatoes or blend them into a fresh soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.
Try: Thai Fresh Pea Soup
Photo by Brian Arnoff
Like fiddleheads, ramps have a short springtime shelf life. That is all the more reason to give them a shot during their short stay in the valley.
“Last spring we made a ramp salsa verde with the tops and served it with toasted Parisian gnocchi, blue crab, and sautéed ramp bottoms,” says Brian Arnoff, the chef and owner of Kitchen Sink Food & Drink in Beacon. “For the home cook…make a ramp pesto with ramp greens, walnuts, Parmesan, and EVOO. Toss it with some spaghetti and maybe a squeeze of lemon and enjoy spring!”