They sure did and I heard them loud and clear! Losing a much needed hour of sleep and wiping green pollen off my car are not my favorite things. But, I overlook all of that and then on to the excitement of spring. As a chef, the announcement of spring is like Christmas morning for a 5 year old child whose parents have just won the lottery.
Artichokes, asparagus, fennel, radishes, peas, Vidalia onions, I will take them all. It is so exciting creating new dishes around this season. I just got my first case of frosted artichokes in. The “frosted” part means they had been exposed to a light frost in their growing season. They always taste more tender and delicious to me. The artichokes are often labeled in the grocery store as “frost kissed” or something to that effect. Many people avoid buying fresh artichokes because they simply don’t know what to do with them. Here are 5 easy steps: 1. cut two inches off the top, 2. Peel green leaves off till you see yellow (about 2 layers), trim stem, 3. Cut in half length wise, 4. Gently cut or scoop out the fiber hairs. 5. Boil or steam for approx 40 min, till tender season with salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil.
Just about every veggie grown in spring is great cold in a salad or warm as a snack or with a meal. I like to shave raw asparagus with a peeler and add it to a field green salad. Fennel is awesome shaved thin tossed with a light vinaigrette or braised together with sweet Vidalia onions. Radishes come in all sorts of colors and sizes. Radishes are great raw but they are also really good quartered and pan roasted with a little salt and olive oil. And of course peas, one of my favorite soups is a chilled English pea soup. Oh my gosh, I almost forgot fava beans, fiddlehead ferns, ramps and even stinging nettles.
Obviously, I am super excited about spring. My suggestion to you, be adventurous and try a spring veggie in a way you never have before. You only have till June so get shopping. If you want suggestions on any of you spring produce I would be more than happy to make recommendations for you. Enjoy you Spring!!!!!!
English Pea Soup (serves 4)
1.5 quart of shelled peas
2 quarts of chicken stock
1 small onion rough chop
2 tbsp butter
1 cup of heavy cream
Method: sweat onions with butter. Add peas, stir for 1 min. add hot chicken stock. Boil 10 min. puree in blender. Add cream and season with salt and pepper.