04 Apr Special of the Day~ Celebrating Spring!
What better way to celebrate spring than with fresh fabulous flavors, beautifully blanched vegetables and super simple recipes that allow seasonal vegetables to shine on their own? Two of my favorites that are at their very best in the spring are asparagus and strawberries. Organic strawberries, when you can find them, are far superior in flavor and worth the splurge. And asparagus in the spring is to die for, I say, especially when blanched and cooled and served with a dip or in a composed salad.
This week’s Special of the Day is serving up two super simple recipes, a fast, fresh and fabulous salad of blanched asparagus and pea pods over butter lettuce leaves lightly dressed with lemon vinaigrette and topped with crispy prosciutto and a chilled strawberry soup you can make ahead and have on hand for a refreshing cool dessert.
Another wonderful way to celebrate spring is by subscribing to a vegetable CSA (community-supported agriculture) share. It sure is comforting to know exactly where your food is coming from and how it was grown and produced.
My quick check-in with my friend Audra Bergman, who owns and operates Groundworks Farm in Fort Shaw with her husband Eric, gave me some exciting updates to share.
Spring seeding in the fields is underway at Groundworks Farm. Spinach is in the ground with carrots and beets close behind. The garlic overwintered well and is growing great.
The Bergmans partner with Parker Farms Greenhouse to get all of their plants started organically. Starts getting seeded this week include bok choy and Chinese cabbage, soon to be followed by tomatoes and peppers.
You can subscribe to a whole or half vegetable share, picking up fresh produce at Saturday Farmer’s Markets at the Civic Center, starting in early June.
In addition, pastured pork raised on organic feed, farm fresh eggs, and now pure lard is available through Groundworks Farm.
Contact Groundworks Farm at 406.590.0508 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out their website for more information at groundworksfarmmt.com.
Toss together a terrific salad, blend up a super simple dessert soup or join a CSA in this week’s Special of the Day~ Celebrating Spring! and recipes for Spring Celebration Salad and Super Simple Chilled Strawberry Soup . Happy Spring!
Super Simple Spring Celebration Salad
Recipe by Sydne George
Make the dressing:
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. honey
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Whisk together all dressing ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
Blanch the vegetables:
2 cups fresh asparagus tips
2 cups fresh pea pods
Heat a medium heavy pot of salted water to a simmer.
Add vegetables and let simmer gently for 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain vegetables in colander in sink.
Cover with ice to stop the cooking.
Make the crispy prosciutto:
2 tsp. olive oil
2 thin slices prosciutto, cut into small ribbons
Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat.
When oil is hot, add prosciutto, and cook briefly, just until golden brown and crispy, turning occasionally.
Transfer crispy prosciutto to paper towels to cool.
Assemble the salad:
1 small head butter lettuce, cleaned and dried, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. fresh lemon peel
Freshly ground pepper
Toss butter lettuce in dressing, just enough to coat.
Toss blanched vegetables in dressing, just enough to coat.
(Toss vegetables just before serving.)
Arrange lightly dressed lettuce on 4 salad plates.
Top with dressed asparagus tips and pea pods.
Top with crispy prosciutto and lemon peel, salt and pepper.
Super Simple Chilled Strawberry Soup
Recipe by Sydne George
1 pound fresh organic strawberries, cleaned and dried
1 cup half and half
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. almond extract
Puree strawberries in food processor until smooth.
Transfer pureed strawberries to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring until combined. Cover and chill for several hours.
When ready to serve, ladle strawberry soup into serving bowls and garnish with strawberry slices and mint leaves.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at email@example.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.