The MenuPages Guide To Spring Vegetables

We love this heady time of year. The long coats are back in their mothballs, tasteful patches of skin begin showing up in people’s outfits, though it’s not yet gratuitous. But one of the deepest-resonating harbingers of spring is the crop of new vegetables. By this time, it’s no longer a surprise to see ramps and asparagus in the produce store or farmers’ market. But we’re entering the height of the season and the time has come to start consuming these little miracles with gusto before they’re gone for another year.

To that end, Accidental Hedonist presents this little photo essay with ideas for a spring feast that includes morels, ramps, asparagus and rhubarb. There’s also some eye-candy in the spring vegetables slide-show on Bon Appetit. But what are our local restaurants doing with the bounty?

• One of our favorite spring treats is the artichoke, which New York Times Magazine contributor and San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson (Coi) treats with a green garlic dipping sauce.

• In Chicago, the seasonal greats are sprouting all over Charlie Trotter’s menu, which includes Rhubarb Stewed with frozen white chocolate yogurt and coriander shortbread, and French White Asparagus with fava beans, sorrel and morel mushrooms.

• Boston favorite No. 9 Park is making the most of the season by including artichokes, asparagus, seasonal mushrooms or other veggies in seemingly everything on the menu. In particular, the Maine Crab Salad with asparagus terrine black trumpet mushrooms caught our eye, as did the Loin of Colorado Lamb, with polenta, artichoke, and Greek yogurt.

• In Florida, the accelerated semi-tropical growing season is grinding to a halt, and the vegetables the rest of the country associates with spring and summer are are either beginning to go or are fully out of season. But the menu at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink still features both, with quite a lot of local heirloom tomatoes as well as asparagus, artichokes, and an enticing grilled whole local pompano with grilled spring onions, grilled lemon, garlic oil, and provencal vinaigrette.

• Finally, Philadelphians in search of seasonal greens should head to Marigold Kitchen, which has briefly seasonal fiddlehead ferns on the menu right now, as well as a rhubarb shake for dessert. Another good option is Ugly American, where asparagus and mixed spring greens abound.

Morels, Ramps, Asparagus And Rhubarb — a spring feast [Accidental Hedonist]
Spring Vegetables Slideshow [Bon Appetit]
Garlic Defanged [New York Times Magazine]

[Photo: White asparagus with sweet mustard sauce and chive blossoms, via Sonicwalker/flickr]

The MenuPages Guide To Spring Vegetables