Like clockwork, my longing for spring settles in right around the middle of March. We have all waited long enough, no? Enough with the stews and the roasts; enough with the Brussels sprouts and the winter squash. Bring on the light, bright flavors of the approaching season — I am ready to stuff myself with asparagus and radishes and green peas!
So let's all have at it then. Put down the kale and make room in your grocery basket for the new season's gems. These five easy recipes embrace some of spring's most beloved produce, whether they're featured in a wholesome main dish or made to sparkle in a simple side dish.
Celebrate Spring No Matter What the Temperature Is Outside
Maybe you're looking out your window and there is still snow on the ground and you're wondering how the heck you can start embracing spring when it looks like winter isn't budging in your neck of the woods. I get that — I am from New England, after all. I am giving myself permission to dive into spring produce even if it's not in full swing just yet — because winter is long enough and we all deserve to catch a break from it.
So don't worry if your farmers market hasn't opened for the season and you can't get those first beautiful bunches of local asparagus just yet. The grocery store is selling them and they still taste pretty darn great — especially after not biting into their earthy green stalks for an entire year. And a bag of frozen peas can mimic the quality of fresh peas if they are treated right. These recipes take advantage of techniques, like roasting and sautéing, that coax flavor out of vegetables that might not be at their peak just yet, so you get that sweet taste you crave. When they hit the market in the next few weeks, you'll have this stable of recipes at the ready.
The Power of Lemon and Herbs
In addition to applying cooking techniques that amp up the taste of early spring vegetables, hitting those veggies with ingredients that add serious brightness is the key to making these five recipes sing. Lemons are used with abandon in these recipes, whether it's the juice in a tangy vinaigrette for a farro salad, a spritz over radishes that are bathed in brown butter, or thin slices roasted alongside asparagus until they're sticky and sweet.
The same goes for fresh herbs; they are generously used throughout these recipes to the same effect. Not only do fresh herbs provide that visual pop of green color that screams of spring, but they also add so much fresh flavor to the dishes, whether it's chopped dill in a main course-worthy shrimp, pea, and couscous salad or basil and parsley in a colorful roasted carrot side dish.
Here's hoping these recipes will help you burst into the new season with the flavors and vegetables that make it so delicious.