by Teri Turner, Contributing Editor to www.UglyProduceisBeautiful.org
As winter turns to spring, it’s a time for new hope and new beginnings: a cause for celebration. I love it! I’ve been having so much fun! I’m especially enamored with the beautiful spring lettuces that remind me to recommit to savoring, appreciating and welcoming fresh produce back into our kitchen. And then there are artichokes: so tricky, yet so timely and versatile! With baby artichokes bursting out of the produce aisle of the grocery store, and with the local farmers market full of these magnificent treasures, it’s time to roast, poach, marinate raw, or add to a salad. My favorite is simply trimming, steaming, and serving with melted butter. I could eat them every night.
Asparagus = Spring. Seize the moment! Wonderful shaved raw into a salad, broiled and finished with a bit of parmesan, or sautéed and blended for a soup, but a simple preparation of sautéing on the stove with olive oil and kosher salt is so scrumptious and feels so indulgent, in the best kind of way.
And don’t even get me started on baby beets--I am crazy for them. Roasted whole, tossed in olive oil, then peeled and sliced, dressed in drizzles of olive oil, sherry vinegar, the juice of half an orange or Clementine, and if you want to go all out, add slices of pink grapefruit or avocado and even some toasted and slivered nuts. I’m swooning.
I’m crazy about salads made with a combination of griddled, raw, and blanched vegetables. I picked up Hugh Acheson’s The Broad Fork, such a great way to celebrate spring--so many wonderful, updated ideas for eating in season. The combination of butter lettuce, griddled cauliflower, blanched brussels sprouts, other beautiful spring lettuces, sliced carrots, and a sprinkle of currants makes my whole body say “Hello, Spring!” This salad is a delectable, fresh, must-do! I particularly love his cider vinaigrette dressing. I stopped buying store-bought dressings years ago, as so many salad dressings are laden with unnecessary sweeteners. I prefer homemade, and my favorite technique is to dress the salad in the bowl once it’s all assembled. All I need are a few glugs of olive oil, a minced preserved lemon (which I always have on hand), a squeeze of lemon juice or dash of sherry vinegar and kosher salt. To add richness to a salad, I add crumbles of feta to the dressing.
Spring is a time to get back into the kitchen and rekindle your love for your favorite vegetables, your body and your health.
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