Ideas For Using Spring Produce

492573537Spring has returned, bringing budding flowers, baseball and longer, sunnier days. That also means it’s time to think about how you’ll incorporate seasonal produce into your dishes. Here are some ideas for how you can bring fresh, delicious and colorful touches to every meal as you continue to learn cooking online this spring.

As Saveur pointed out, you should pick an artichoke based on how you intend to use it. Smaller vegetables are best if you plan on pickling or frying them, while a medium size will serve well for salads. For stuffed artichokes, on the other hand, go for larger ones. Just don’t pick any that have wilting leaves.

Emeril Lagasse provided directions for stuffed artichoke that makes a fantastic springtime appetizer. It features a bread stuffing flavored with crab boil, onion, garlic, oregano and lemon zest. Serve it with more grated Parmesan, olive oil and wedges of lemon.

This sweet fruit is at its best from April to July. While strawberries are a delightful treat by themselves, you can also put your skills in the baking and pastry arts to work by preparing a seasonal dessert.

Taste of Home suggested adding flavor contrast to a classic with strawberry-lemon shortcakes. You’ll achieve this combination by first mixing grated lemon rind into the biscuit dough. Then, mix sliced strawberries with granulated sugar and lemon juice.

Though asparagus are available year-round, their peak comes between March and June. This versatile vegetable can be excellent grilled, roasted or sauteed in olive oil. It’s also a pleasant addition to an omelet, pasta or soup.

The New York Times advised a method of roasting asparagus that yields exceptionally juicy results. The recipe calls for tossing the vegetables in salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast them in an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Then, season with thyme and lemon juice and serve.

pull quote redRhubarb
These tart stalks are commonly cooked into pies and cakes, but they are more versatile than many realize. Rhubarb can be used in many savory dishes and, when blanched and chopped, they also serve well in a salad or salsa.

According to Serious Eats, the vegetable’s tart flavor is perfect for preparing a ketchup. This requires combining 4 cups of the vegetable with a can of crushed tomatoes; onions; white wine vinegar; brown and granulated sugars; Worcestershire sauce; salt and pepper; cinnamon; and garlic, onion and ancho chili powders. The results will nicely complement a pork shoulder.

Morel mushrooms
The nutty flavor and unique, honeycomb-like texture of this member of the truffle family make it one of the most sought after delicacies of the season. While you can find cultivated and dried morels throughout the year, wild specimens are available from April to June. Select mushrooms that are firm, and keep in mind that darker colors indicate a stronger flavor.

The mushrooms are great at absorbing sauces, so try using them with pasta. Martha Stewart Living recommended combining the morels with chanterelles and cheese tortelloni. The mushrooms will soak in the flavors of the creamy sauce made with Madeira wine.

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