Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Favorite Spring Ingredients


Spring has arrived. So have the ingredients that are best during this season. I don't always cook with the seasons but I try to cook seasonally whenever I can. You can get any of these ingredients year round. We don't live in the 1800s after all. Many great restaurant chefs cook with the seasons so they can get an ingredient's peak flavor. I love restaurants with a "Spring menu." I'm inspired to do the same. Spring brings a bountiful of fun and tasty ingredients to chow down on. Here are some of my favorites:

Jicama -- This crunchy vegetable is great raw in salads and as an ingredient in deep fried spring rolls. Jicama is a pain to peel but it's worth every bite. It's a refreshing feast for the mouth and the ears. crunch. crunch.
Lamb -- Oh let me count the ways. I love cooking with lamb. When I cook lamb, I borrow from food cultures which cook lamb really well like Morocco, Afghanistan, Turkey and Greece. We are big fans of lamb tagines and doner kebabs so I might try to make those for dinner one of these days.
Salmon
-- Fantastic fresh catch wild salmon is great until end of summer. Highly pigmented pink/red salmon has a strong flavor on its own and doesn't need much. Maybe a little dill or wasabi perhaps?

Watercress -- The peppery watercress leaves are great for many rich soups. I also like it simply prepared and sauteed with chopped garlic and EVOO.
Fresh Morels -- Morels are one of my favorite mushrooms. They have tons of flavor and umami! They add a rich earthy flavor to just about anything. I don't cook with them often because they are hard to find around here but I look for them when we go out to eat.
Strawberries -- The possibilities are endless! Strawberries are so sweet from the middle to the end of Spring. I love a Fresh strawberry pie with a huge pillow of freshly whipped cream. My husband made this for me once and it was delicious. Maybe he will make it for me again. :-)

Happy Spring cooking and eating everyone!

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