Spring Recipes

Four easy recipes using spring time vegetables



Grilled Pork Chop with Sausage Hash

debreny/istockphoto.com

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for spring. I can’t wait to attend the opening day at our local farmer’s market to see (and buy) all of the lovely bright green produce that is begging to be cooked. Spring is also the perfect time to invite friends over for a casual dinner or simple hors’ d’oeuvres and cocktails. These are our favorite spring entertaining recipes that utilize the bounty of spring produce that will be coming to your local market soon!

Sweet Pea and Ricotta Crostini

A beautiful appetizer that can be made in advance and assembled when guests arrive. Serve with a bright white wine to welcome guests.

1 French baguette, sliced


1 1/3 C. peeled and cooked fresh peas

1/2 C. olive oil

1 clove garlic

Juice and zest from half a lemon

2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

1 C.  ricotta cheese

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Make the crostini. Preheat the oven to 400º. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. With a pastry brush, give each piece of bread a good dab of olive oil. Bake until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Make the sweet pea puree. In a food processor, blend the cooked peas, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, zest and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the crostini. Top each crostini with a spoonful of ricotta cheese. Top with a spoonful of pea puree. Grind fresh pepper over top and serve.

Pickled Ramps/Scapes

Ramps or scapes are a special springtime delicacy. Often farmer’s market vendors will carry them in large open baskets. Don’t miss the chance to try these delicious garlicky treats! Here’s one of our favorite recipes. Enjoy these as a snack or over grilled fish or chicken.

Garlic Scapes

1 C. white wine vinegar
1 C. sugar
1 C. water
1 tsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. red peppercorns
1 tsp. white peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 pounds ramps, cleaned and trimmed
Kosher salt for blanching
1 Tbs. salt for the pickling liquid

  • Trim the ends off of the ramps and cut down the leaves leaving about 1/4 inch of green, saving the green ends for another purpose. Wash the ramps under cool, running water. 


  • Blanch the ramps quickly (30 seconds) by dropping them in a large pot of salted, boiling water, and then shock them in ice water. Drain the ramps well and place them in a mason jar. 


  • Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, mustard seeds, coriander, pink and white peppercorns, and fennel seeds.


  • Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the ramps in the mason jar and let cool, sealing tight and transferring to the refrigerator. 


  • Note-In the refrigerator these pickled ramps will last a few weeks to a couple of months. If you follow traditional, safe canning techniques, these will last for a few months, or until you eat them all, which ever comes first. 



Fiddlehead and Scape Pasta with Truffle Oil

Fiddleheads have a grassy, spring-like flavor with a hint of nuttiness. Many people think they taste like a cross between asparagus and young spinach. Before using, rinse fiddleheads in several changes of cold water, removing any dirt or grit, before using. Fiddleheads are delicate items that quickly loose their bright flavor and crisp texture. If you need to store them, wrap fiddleheads lightly in plastic wrap and keep chilled. This is a gorgeous simple first course made decadent with the addition of truffle oil.

1 lb. fiddlehead ferns
1 lb. angel hair pasta
3 tbs. olive oil
2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. truffle oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Grated Parmesan

  • Bring two pots of salted water to a boil. In one, blanch the fiddleheads until they are crisp about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the fiddleheads from the water and shock them in a bowl of ice water (unless you are going to use them immediately).
  • In another, boil angel hair pasta for 5-7 minutes or until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil. Saute fiddlehead ferns, garlic scapes, and red pepper flakes for 2 minutes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss with truffle oil and salt and pepper. Divide pasta among 4 plates and garnish with grated cheese.

Italian Pasta and Fava Bean Soup

Fava beans have become one of my favorite spring-time vegetables. Their bright green color and delicate flavor elevate this soup to a meal.

Italian Pasta and Fava Bean Soup

3 lbs. fava bean pods, shelled
1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 thick slices bacon, cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
One 3-inch-long rosemary sprig
1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup tubetti or orzo
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the shelled fava beans and blanch until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and peel the favas.
  • In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbs. of olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, cover and simmer over low heat until the carrot is tender, about 6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain.
  • Discard the rosemary sprig and season the soup with salt and pepper. Add the favas and, pasta. Spoon the soup into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Note-The blanched and peeled fava beans can be refrigerated separately overnight.    

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