Early spring brings the first of the fresh veggies to market, among them asparagus, artichokes and peas.
Early-season asparagus is a thing of beauty when lightly steamed and dressed with a bit of fresh lemon; other preparation methods include grilling, stir-frying, roasting and, especially in the case of thicker stalks, boiling. Look for bright-green stalks with smooth skin and compact heads.
Artichokes are actually the undeveloped flowers of a plant in the sunflower family. Mature specimens can be steamed, boiled, grilled or fried, while baby chokes can be eaten raw (as in the salad below). Artichoke hearts are available year round as marinated delicacies.
Pea choices include the round, green standard pea; as edible-podded (or snap) peas, which resemble green beans; and flat-podded peas, often used in Asian cuisines. Peas are available fresh in the spring and frozen or canned the rest of the year (go with frozen for best taste).
Fresh Asparagus Scramble
1 lb asparagus spears, ends trimmed
8 large eggs*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz whipped garlic-and-herb cream cheese
1 pt cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.Can also use 3 whole eggs and 9 egg whites
Source: California Asparagus Commission
Baby Artichoke, Parsley and Celery Salad
2 1/2 lbs baby artichokes
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 medium red onion (or 5 green onions), thinly sliced
1 cup packed Italian parsley, stems removed
1/4 cup capers
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
dash Tabasco sauce
freshly ground pepper
Yields 4 servings
Source: Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool (Chronicle Books)
Red Beet and Pea Risotto With Mint and Feta
1 large red onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (generous) arborio rice
3 medium cooked red beets, cubed
4 cups vegetable stock (from a cube or powder)
sea salt and black pepper
1 3/4 cups frozen garden peas
handful fresh mint, minced
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Reprinted with permission from The Medicinal Chef © 2013 Dale Pinnock, Sterling Publishing Inc. Co.
Like this article? You’ll love our weekly newsletter
sign up here!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.