Market as Map of the Season
We are heavily into spring now but produce and fruit haven’t caught up. They never do. We humans are so ready to leave winter behind, sit in the sun, eat sweet green peas, strawberries, asparagus and baby new lettuces, yet nature takes her course.
Winter and Spring – More Exciting, More Complex
She – helped along by canny growers and greenhouses – gives us bits of things, as though to keep us happy. For instance, right now we’re getting the first of the years’ asparagus, which sits proudly on the stands next to winter’s leeks. (I notice this year sometimes it is local, sometimes it’s from Spain which means that the French season is JUST getting started). Carrots with their frothy greens – from a greenhouse – accompanies winter’s fat, firm beets. Celery root, end of season garlic, winter lettuces provide contrast with tender new spinach and something called Cuban cress, a new salad green. Despite the little new gems, we cannot say, on a culinary level, that the season has changed. It’s just gotten a little more exciting, a bit more complex.
Fun in the Kitchen
So, with all this old/new abundance we get to have fun. My favorite thing right now is to eat asparagus as a first course, follow it by a medley of braised winter root vegetables with slices of grilled, air-cured ham, then a simple dessert of either winter apples and pears (put in a crumble, sauteed in butter with spices), OR ….stay tuned to an upcoming blog to find out the simplest spring dessert ever! Bon Appétit.